It has been a year of change. We have seen the volume of rentals increase dramatically as vendors have responded to the ever-widening gap between listing and sale prices by taking their properties off the market. Tenants have had more choice and long-term landlords have come under pressure to reduce rents and improve their properties. While we are in favour of improving properties, this coupled with lower rents has had a negative affect on returns for some landlords at a time of high interest rates. Lenders have been tightening up on their requirements of borrowers and we have seen reductions of staff in real estate and mortgage providers.
The long awaited RTA Amendment Bill was introduced into Parliament in May but has stayed on the table ever since. We have however taken the opportunity to discuss its contents with all the politicians who have the roles of housing spokespeople. As practising landlords ourselves, we have been able to strongly represent the views of members and communicate our concern about the clauses in the Bill, which we think are unclear or will not achieve its stated purpose to help both landlords and tenants to understand and enforce their respective rights.
In this time of turmoil and change, the New Zealand Investors’ Federation has demonstrated its leadership role with a positive response. The launch of the Code of Ethics was very timely and emphasised to the rest of the industry, government and the general public, the commitment of our organisation and of those affiliated associations, which chose to endorse it, to a high level of customer service. There has never been a more critical time to differentiate landlords who are members from non-member landlords.
The new award, Landlord of the Year 2008, sponsored by the Department of Building and Housing, is a further public acknowledgement that we all strive to practice high standards as we go about our daily business. We very much appreciate the support of the Department and the on going excellent working relationship we have with senior officials. I am very much looking forward to the presentation of the Award to the winner, and the acknowledging the two runners up and all who entered, at tomorrow’s Conference dinner.
I have been very pleased to see that Associations have provided excellent support to their members during the difficult economic conditions this year. Speakers have been featured who have focused their presentations on “getting through the tough times”, group discussions have been offered and individual assistance provided through the networking process, which is such an important part of the regular meetings.
This year then has demonstrated what we all are about – lobbying at the national level, providing leadership at both the national and local levels, and supporting members through the bad times of the current property cycle. I would like to thank all those who take active roles in Associations for their dedication and energy. They are usually all very busy people but find the time to help others and do the necessary work of running Associations.
I would also like to thank the members of this year’s Federation Executive. Terry Le Grove, Allan Storey and Owen Smith have ably filled the roles of Regional Representatives, supporting Associations in their area. Janelle Morgan offered to assist Allan in the Central Region a few months ago and we hope to see more of her. Cliff Seque has done an excellent job of increasing the number of national discounts for members and has shared his knowledge and experience through speaking to a number of Associations during the year. Helen Gelletly and Alan Sharr have held the roles of Secretary and Treasurer respectively and Andrew King has been a great support to me as Vice President.
I thank Thomas Chin, our political lobbyist. His role has been particularly important this year. I acknowledge the work Janette Ritchie has done in running our National Office and thank her for another busy year in which we have introduced the online credit card transaction facility. Thanks to Jan Hains, for supporting the Executive and the Associations and assisting us all to achieve more than we would otherwise be able to do.
It has been a rewarding experience being President of the Federation this year and I look forward to achieving more progress as we enter the 2008/2009year.