The regulation of property managers is one step closer, with the Government releasing proposals that could see companies fined up to $100,000.
Associate Housing Minister Poto Williams said regulating the sector would "make things fairer for renters and landlords".
She said due to the lack of regulation "renters feel reluctant to complain to, or about, their property manager for fear of losing their homes or jeopardising their ability to rent houses in the future".
"Property owners are also vulnerable to poor conduct by property managers, and we know of some instances where unregulated property managers have misused rental income and bonds and provided little or no property inspection and maintenance."
The proposals would see a licensing regime requiring property managers to sign up and comply with a code of conduct.
A range of proposals has been released in a discussion document, where people could give their feedback.
It said there was "significant risk that a lack of common industry practice standards, controls, and an accessible, independent disciplinary and disputes resolution process pose to property owners and tenants and to the reputation of residential property managers".
Individual property managers could face a fine up to $40,000, while a fine for a company could go up to $100,000 for specific offences. Also proposed was a Disciplinary Tribunal to make decisions on cases. It could suspend or cancel licences and impose fines up to $15,000 for an individual or $30,000 for a company. It could also order the licensee pay compensation up to $100,000.
Green Party housing spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick said "we've spent far too long discussing renters' rights in this country and far too little reflecting them in law".
"We're lightyears behind where we should be."
"The 1.4 million New Zealanders who rent can't be left out in the cold any longer. The Government can and should fold these proposed standards into a Landlord and Property Manager Register, seen in places like Scotland, as the foundation of a system that requires good relationships and ensures bad actors can't continue to get away to do the same thing over and over again."
The bill will be introduced to Parliament next year.
Labour promised in the 2020 election to regulate property managers.