What is a Property Manager under the PPPR Act?

27 June, 2023 | Mikayla Sagar

A property manager is appointed by a Family Court Judge under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights 1988 Act (“PPPR Act”).

A property manager is someone appointed to make decisions regarding an individual’s property when they lack the ‘capacity’ to make these decisions themselves (this person is called the “subject person”), or to appoint an Attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney. A property manager is responsible for all decisions related to the subject person’s property, including their income or government benefit. A property manager cannot make decisions regarding the subject person’s personal care and welfare interests.

Who can be appointed a property manager?

The proposed property manager must be over the age of 20. In contrast to a Welfare Guardian, the property manager can either be an individual or a trustee corporation, and more than one person can be appointed. If two property managers are appointed, they must act jointly rather than individually.

The proposed property manager must file an application requesting appointment, and must satisfy the Family Court that:

  1. the subject person wholly or partly lacks the necessary mental capacity to manage their own affairs regarding their property (therefore appointment of a property manager is necessary); and
  2. the proposed property manager is an appropriate person to carry out the responsibilities of the role, and will wholly act in the best interests of the subject person.

What is the role of the property manager?

When making and carrying out decisions, a property manager must:

  • Act in the best interest of the subject person;
  • Consult with the subject person (where possible), any jointly appointed managers (where applicable), and any appropriate organisations to obtain advice in relation to the subject person’s care;
  • Consult the subject person’s welfare guardian (if applicable); and
  • Encourage the subject person to act in their own interest and develop capacity where possible.

Property managers must also file financial statements with the Court at specific times after and during their appointment, as outlined under section 45 of the PPPR Act.

If a property manager acts in bad faith or without reasonable care, or enters into any type of arrangement or contract withholding the knowledge that they are in fact a property manager acting for someone else and that they are acting in their capacity, the may be held personally liable for those actions.

Property Administrator vs. Property Manager

If the subject person’s property to be managed (e.g. real estate or savings in bank account(s)) is less than $5,000.00 and their income or benefit they may receive is less than $20,000.00 per year, the applicant can apply to be property administrator under section 11 of the PPPR Act, rather than a property manager.

An appointed property administrator can only administer the property of the subject person as specified on the Court order, and they have fewer reporting responsibilities to the Court.

If the subject person’s property or income is over either of these thresholds, the applicant should apply to be appointed as property manager under section 31 of the PPPR Act.

While property managers have the additional responsibility to file financial statements to the Court as mentioned above, property administrators do not have this requirement.

Lawyer for Subject Person

Once an application is filed with the Court, it will appoint a lawyer for subject person (“L4SP”) will be appointed. The L4SP represents the interests of the subject person and makes submissions to the Court on their behalf. Following their appointment, the L4SP will usually meet and speak with the subject person (where possible) and provide the Court with a report on their assessment of them, including whether the orders sought are appropriate, if there is any further medical evidence required, etc.

Opposition to applications

All interested parties (e.g. family members, a care facility where the subject person stays, or anyone the subject person lives with) must be notified of the application as it is filed. The Court arranges service of the application on the interested parties (with some exceptions) if consents have not already been provided by those parties as part of the application.

If an interested party does not think the proposed property manager is suitable for the role, they may oppose the application for appointment.

The court makes the final decision regarding appointment, on the terms it considers fair.

How long does a property manager appointment last?

The duration of appointment is up to the Court to decide, although it is usually an initial appointment of 3 years from the date the Court’s order is made.

When an initial appointment is nearing expiry of its term, a property manager can apply for review and re-appointment. Re-appointment as property manager may be for a term of up to 5 years.

Are property managers paid?

Property Managers are not usually entitled to payment for their services. However, reasonably incurred expenses (such as legal fees or expenses incurred on behalf of the subject person in management of their real estate) are payable from the subject person’s funds

I’m thinking of making an application – what should I do first?

You need to obtain a medical assessment for the person whom you wish to apply to be appointed the property manager of. The medical assessment should address whether they have capacity (or not) to make their own decisions and communicate the same. A doctor or GP should have experience in this and know what is required.

If the doctor or GP determines the person has capacity, then they can instruct a lawyer to prepare Enduring Powers of Attorney.

If the assessment determines they do not have capacity (partially or wholly), you will need to make an application under the PPPR Act to be appointed property manager.

Ready to navigate the appointment process and protect your loved one’s assets? Contact our expert team today for personalized guidance and assistance in becoming a Property Manager under the PPPR Act. We can help make the application process as stress free as possible. Call Mikayla Sagar on 09 837 6890 or email mikayla.sagar@smithpartners.co.nz.

Do you need to be appointed Property Manager for a loved one?

Contact Mikayla today to get the process started so that your loved one’s interests are safeguarded.

email Mikayla
+64 9 837 6890

About the author

A key member of the dispute resolution team, Mikayla Sagar specialises in assisting clients with PPPR applications and debt collection, with particular focus on of the process of making demand, Statutory Demands and enforcing judgment. Working closely with Litigation Director,
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