What a property manager does

If someone is unable to fully manage their property and financial affairs, a property manager can be appointed to look after these things.

If the person’s income or benefit is less than $20,000 a year and none of the property to be managed is worth more than $5000, you can ask the court for an Order to Administer Property.

How a property manager can help

When making and carrying out decisions, property managers must:

  • support and protect the interests of the person in need of help
  • encourage the person to develop and use any skills they have to manage their own property
  • talk with the person they are acting for, and other people who are interested in the person's welfare
  • regularly talk with any welfare guardian chosen for the person
  • follow the terms of any Personal Order made for the person they are acting for.

The court can't appoint a property manager just because the person whose property will be managed makes decisions about their property that the average person wouldn't. The court can consider whether a person has come under too much influence in the management of their property when it makes a property order.

There’s no need to apply if someone has been appointed to manage someone’s property and assets under an enduring power of attorney (EPA).

How a property manager can protect someone

When a property manager is appointed, no one can, without the court's permission:

  • bring or continue court proceedings (apart from proceedings under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988) against the person
  • enforce any debt, judgment or order (apart from a judgment or order under the Act) against the person
  • enter into possession, sell, appoint a receiver or exercise any power under a mortgage, charge or security instrument over the person's property
  • determine a tenancy, or enforce any rights under a tenancy agreement.

The court can also say that all or part of the property under management must be put into trust for the benefit of the person to whom the order applies. It can also say that any of this property must be used to help members of the person's family, or anyone that the person might be expected to look after if they were able to manage their own affairs.

Property managers & wills

If the person to whom the order applies doesn’t have a will, or the court decides their will is not valid, the court can give permission for a property manager to make a will for the person.

Payments to a property manager

Normally property managers are not paid, but they can ask the court for payment from the person's estate.

Property managers can also claim expenses from the estate.

Statements a property manager must give the court

Financial statements are usually required at the beginning and end of the manager's appointment, and every year during the management period. Each statement must describe the person's property and their income, liabilities and expenditure.

The first statement is a summary of the assets and liabilities when the Order starts. Annual statements should include detailed statements of receipts and payments, together with a balance sheet or list of assets and liabilities.

After the statement is given to the court, it’s examined by the Public Trust (except when the manager is a trustee corporation). The cost for this examination is usually met by the person's estate.

It's an offence to file a false statement or to fail to file a statement. If a false statement is filed it’s punishable by up to 3 years' imprisonment. If a statement isn’t filed it’s punishable by a fine of $1000.

Property managers & personal liability

Property managers aren't personally liable (financially responsible) when entering into contracts or arrangements if they tell the other party that they're acting as a property manager under the Act.

If a property manager does not act in good faith and with reasonable care, they could become legally liable for their actions.

Property managers can ask the court for advice when using their rights and powers.

When does a property manager's appointment end?

A property manager stops managing a person’s property if:

  • the person or the manager dies
  • the manager becomes bankrupt
  • the manager becomes a special patient or a patient under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992(external link)
  • the manager becomes subject to a Property Order or is unable to carry out their duties
  • they share responsibility with another manager and any of the above things happens to one of them
  • the court ends the Property Order
  • another person is chosen as property manager. In this case, the previous manager will stop all duties unless the court orders otherwise.

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