Report Looks at a Capital Gains Tax (AGAIN)

THE RENTAL PROPERTY MARKET IN NEW ZEALAND IS DUE FOR A BIG SHAKE-UP

Most of us are probably aware of this.  For months now the government’s focus on Healthy Homes and some of the likely changes to the laws governing rental properties, have been reported across various media.

But what seems to have slipped under the ‘big news’ radar is the interim report released on 20 September by the government’s Tax Working Group.  Headed by former Labour deputy prime minister, Sir Michael Cullen, this group has been tasked with reviewing New Zealand’s tax system, including its structure, fairness and balance as it applies to wealth generally, and to capital income specific ally.  This includes looking at the merits of extending the taxation of capital income to asset classes previously exempt from capital gains, including paying tax on profits when selling properties. On a brighter note, increasing the income tax rate, or the rate of GST, implementing an inheritance tax or any changes that would apply to the taxation of the family home or the land underneath it, are outside the Tax Working Group’s mandate.

Quinovic Property Management in Parnell Auckland

The Tax Working Group have considered 6,700 submissions lodged between 1 March and 30 April 2018, and the report notes that many submitters have been concerned that tax-free gains on houses encourages New Zealanders to place a high proportion of savings in land and housing, leaving lower New Zealand savings for other forms of investment.

Is any of this relevant to rental property investors and to the rental market?

It might well be.  Although the report did admit it was difficult to quantify the impact of the New Zealand tax system on house prices and rents, mainly because the housing market was subject to many different influences and there is very little definitive evidence available regarding the tax impact on house prices and rents in New Zealand.  However, the Tax Working Group did agree that some features of the current tax system – such as the inconsistent treatment of capital income – have probably exacerbated the house price cycle (even if the tax system is not the primary cause of unaffordable housing).  This means that any extensions to capital income taxation, such as the introduction of a new tax on capital gains from residential property investments, will likely impact the housing market, including probably putting upward pressure on the ratio of rents to prices – in other words, it’s likely to cause rents to rise.

Taking a lead from across the Tasman hasn’t been ruled out either.  The interim report lists examples from Australia, which could herald the development of similar taxes in New Zealand,including ‘vacant land’ and ’empty house’ taxes.  These are seen as one way of improving housing supply and affordability, but the report also notes that the introduction of a tax on vacant residential land, or on empty homes in residential areas, would likely intensify the use of existing urban areas – thereby creating another set of problems.

The interim report stops short of making a definitive recommendation on the introduction of a broad-based capital gains tax on property and sharemarket investments, but it is still early days.  Sir Michael says they know that extending the taxation of capital income will have a range of advantages and disadvantages, but that the group is still weighing up all the issues.

The final report will be published in February 2019, and the government has promised several more rounds of reports and public consultation before the final decisions are made by cabinet. However, as the appetite for any proposed changes is likely to be tested at the 2020 election, it would appear that the implementation of any new tax laws is unlikely to happen before the start of the 2021 tax year.

Our best advice is to get the best advice. There are some very skilled tax accountants and tax lawyers who specialise in the residential property marketplace; make sure you are working with experts.

We started off this article by talking about the new ‘Healthy Homes’ legislation. If you are a residential rental property owner and you’re not aware of how this could affect you and your rental investment – then you need to know now!

Talk to the experts. For free, informed and practical advice on any aspect of residential property management, including Healthy Homes, given Quinovic Parnell in Auckland a call.

 

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A Tide of Change is Coming for Landlords. Are You Ready?

Our government’s first-year anniversary is approaching.  Tenancy reform announcements are more frequent as Phil Twyford’s master plan starts to take shape.

Between now and Christmas, there are a few possible and proposed changes coming:

  • Proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act announced.  In particular, reforms will be around ‘security of tenure’, rent bidding and allowing tenants to have pets.
  • Stricter rules and regulations for operators of boarding houses and the likely introduction of a Warrant of Fitness.
  • Standards and time frames around the implementation of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill criteria.
  • The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill No 2 and Abolishment of Letting Fee Bill will become law.
  • An announcement about the possible regulation of our industry.
  • The possibility of tenants having right of renewal of their tenancy after a fixed term.
  • Tenants may have the right to a minimum length of tenancy.
Quinovic Property Management Parnell in Auckland
We have to ask:
  1. Will tenancies become periodic tenancies?
  2. Will landlords only have the opportunity to give a 90-day notice (with valid reason) to end a tenancy?
  3. Will tenants have the right to have pets?
  4. Will tenants be able to make alterations to the rental property without their landlord’s agreement?
 We are of the belief that warrants of fitness will come, and it will be a good change.  At Quinovic Parnell, 99% of the rental properties we manage would meet the proposed changes.  We would be active in guiding owners to ensure their rental properties comply.
It has never been more important that landlords realise they are running a business.  As such property owners need to educate themselves on the changes, and ensure they abide by the law.
We would like to thank Real-IQ for some of the comments for this blog post.
If you’re looking for expert help or guidance, get in touch with Quinovic Parnell in Auckland.  We can assist you in managing your property business. We can ensure your investment or portfolio of rental properties are well managed:

Who Wants to be a Quinovic Property Manager in Auckland?

We take a peek into a day in the life of a Quinovic rental property manager.  Some people think we only collect the rent, which we do and it goes into a secure trust account.  The account is like what law firms operate.  At Quinovic Parnell we also do much more than that.

What exactly does a property manager do?

Property Maintenance:

We look after our owners’ properties.  We take care of all aspects of repairs and maintenance.  As such we work with builders, plumbers, electricians, cleaners and gas fitters.  We also work with gardeners, arborists and lawn mowing service providers.

We organise for the cleaning and servicing of pools and spas.  We brief tilers, roofers, carpet layers, curtain and blind installers/repairers.  We instruct glass repairers, insulation installers, locksmiths, painters and decorators.  Then there are pest controllers and house washers.  There are asbestos removers, chimney sweeps, heat pump and air conditioning services.  Plus there are drainage and sewage consultants.

We talk to architects, engineers, body corporate managers, insurance brokers and underwriters.  Sometimes we deal with neighbours over renovations, subsidence, boundary fences and overhanging trees.
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Property Inspections:

We do regular inspections of all our rental properties.  The inspection includes a written report and photos.  We check each property complies.  We check for operational smoke alarms, asbestos identification, insulation, weather tightness and mould.  We then liaise with our owners and tenants about any outstanding issues.

Accounting:

We break down and explain invoices and costs to our owners and tenants.  We reconcile and allot charges for water bills and property maintenance expenses.  We receive rent payments and chase up rent arrears.  We receipt and later release tenants’ bond monies.

Legal Accountability:

We are the property owner’s legal representative.   We ensure the properties we manage and the owners we represent adhere to the Residential Tenancies Act (1986) and its amendments We observe legislative, body corporate, and/or local government rules and council bylaws which govern residential rental properties.  And this includes residential parking constraints.
We uphold the rights and obligations of all parties, including our tenants.  We are also responsible for ensuring the quiet enjoyment of our tenants’ neighbours.  Now and again we deal with noise complaints and barking dogs.

Security:

We look after keys, swipe cards, remotes, security and alarm codes for all properties we manage.  We record each time these items leave and return to our office. We vet all service providers who are working in our tenants’ homes.  We make sure all service providers have agreed to our health and safety guidelines.  We ensure all our rental properties are safe and secure for our tenants.

Utilities:

We organise or advise about electricity and gas supplies, broadband and Sky TV.  We oversee the fibre installation into rental homes.

Research:

We keep up-to-date with market rental prices which can show seasonal variation.  We assimilate the latest tenancy tribunal judgements and legislative changes affecting rental properties.  We keep our owners and tenants updated. Where required we alter our business practices.  For new tenancies, we vet tenancy applications and check tenant references.

Marketing:

We write compelling rental property advertising to attract great tenants.  We sometimes take our own photos for advertising.  Other times we arrange for professional photographers to take them.  We use social media to further promote properties to a wider audience.
Quinovic Parnell assists owners of rental properties with strategies that ensure their investment is professionally managed by experts to the highest standard.  We give you peace of mind, so you know you are working with Auckland property management experts.
Talk to Kerry today from Quinovic Property Management Parnell about us managing your Auckland rental property:

 

Know Your Responsibilities Around the Gluckman Report on Meth

In March 2018 we published an article under the heading:  “Some Facts About Meth Testing of Rental Properties”.
Since then we have had the Gluckman report.  It sent the property management industry into a spin.
Housing NZ and the Real Estate Agents Authority have adopted the level of 15 mcg/100 sq cm for their business model.  But, the Tenancy Tribunal has not accepted this level. As landlords and property managers, we need to obey the law.  What does this mean?
Our advice and recommendation is to test and keep on testing until the law changes.  There are many who are lobbying for change but we need to make sure that our tenants’ health is protected.
We don’t want to be alarmist.  Methamphetamine and other drugs are becoming an increasing problem for rental properties.

Know Your Responsibilities with Methamphetamine in Rental Properties

Quinovic Parnell have a policy in place to help manage this threat on behalf of our owners.
  1. Firstly, we test 2 – 4 days before a tenancy starts.  This creates a baseline for future tests.
  2. We then include the test results as part of our tenancy agreement, and make sure the tenant signs a copy. This ensures they understand and acknowledge they were advised of the test and results.
  3. It is the landlord’s responsibility to provide a clean, tidy and safe home for tenants. We believe testing is part of meeting this requirement under tenancy law.
  4. If we don’t complete a test before the tenant’s arrival it can be very difficult to prove contamination was due to the current tenant.
  5. If during a tenancy contamination is found, the house/apartment becomes uninhabitable and the tenancy ends immediately.  The tenant must vacate and their tenancy agreement ends.
  6. The tenant may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a refund of all rent paid if they can prove the property was contaminated before their arrival. This has occurred more than once in New Zealand.
Whilst we don’t wish to frighten anyone from being a landlord, it shows how important it is to engage the services of a professional property management company like Quinovic Parnell to ensure you meet your legal responsibilities.
If you’re looking for an expert property manager, talk to Kerry from Quinovic Property Management Parnell:

FAKE News? Even the Rental Market isn’t Immune

Do you believe everything you read about the Auckland rental property market?  It might be correct, but could be out of date, incorrect, or even worse – it could be fake news!
 
We have all seen the attention-grabbing headlines.  Here are some recent samples:
  • Landlords worried as government moves on compulsory heating in rental properties
  • It was like being in a coffin – Aucklander shares experience renting in NZ’s most expensive city
  • Landlords welcome new meth report: money on problem that doesn’t exist
  • Property predictions for 2018
  • Meth-testing in homes – don’t bother
  • Rental home heating regulations should be in force
  • $1.3 million spent on meth clean up in state houses – just $3,000 on mould
  • What’s squeezing the life out of New Zealand’s rental market?
  • Landlords reveal why your rent is rising
  • Buying property for the short-term rental market
So how do you sort out what might be accurate or truthful, and what might apply to your own situation?
 
For example:
  • Did you know the rental market slows down at certain times of the year?  This affects the time it takes to rent properties and rental returns. It can vary from city to city.
  • Do you know what the rental market is doing right now, suburb by suburb, or city by city?
  • Are queues of prospective tenants a myth or reality for Auckland? Or does tenant interest vary according to location, and the type of property you are trying to rent?
  • Do you know about legislative changes affecting rental properties that come into law on 4 April 2018?
  • Do you know about changes to the law for rental properties that will be compulsory from 1 July 2019?
  • Do you know what these new laws are and how they apply?  Or are you relying on what’s been speculated in, or even relatively ignored by the media?  Do you understand how these changes will affect you and your property?
  • Are you aware of what a PCBU is, and how this affects you and your rental property?  Landlords, property managers and tenants all have obligations to discharge as PCBUs. (A person conducting a business or undertaking).
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By not knowing, you risk significant fines for non-compliance.  With the correct information you can significantly enhance your returns or find great tenants quicker.
 
Get in touch with the experts in Auckland property management.  Quinovic Property Management specialises in managing residential rental properties.  We have been managing properties for over 30 years and know the rental market inside and out.  It’s all we do.   With a nationwide network of 34 offices, 180+ staff, an in-house property lawyer, and thousands of properties under management – you can see why.
 

Our Free Offer to You

At Quinovic Parnell we are offering to give you free, up to date, accurate, informed and customised information;  relevant to you.  If there are enough people wanting the same information, we will publish the questions and answers.
 
Follow the link below to get in touch with Quinovic Property Management Parnell, Auckland:
 

How to Keep Your Home Warm for Less this Winter

Did you notice the drop in temperature late last month?  We’re almost halfway through June;  winter is here well and truly.

Are you struggling to keep warm?  Are you looking to reduce your heating costs?  Today we pen some tips which we hope help you keep your home warm this winter, and reduce your heating bills.

Close Blinds and Curtains
As soon as it begins to get dark at night – close your blinds and draw your curtains.  This will help keep warmth in from the day, and stop heat escaping through windows.

Use Draught Stops
Under doors can be a source for draughts, and can reduce the temperature of rooms.  Draught stops can be quite cheap to buy, or you could make your own and fill with rice or sand as part of a craft project.

Staying warm this winter

Reduce the Heat
Turn your heating down and keep it a lower, more even level.  This can be more effective than having short bursts of intense heat.  By turning your thermostat down – it can be a way to save on your heating bills.

Keep Doors Closed
If you leave doors open, or don’t close them behind you when leaving a room – the heat will escape.  Keep doors closed and warm only the doors you are in, to help keep yourself toasty.

Use Rugs on Timber Floors
If your home has timber flooring you could put down rugs to keep the heat.  This particularly applies in bedrooms and living areas.

Do you have any comments or suggestions about our tips?  Please leave a comment below, or follow our blog.

Will Kiwis Lose their Love Affair with being a Landlord?

The government has changed.  There has been a dramatic change in attitude to landlords also.

Once being a landlord was something to aspire to and be proud of.  You worked hard and had enough equity in the family home to buy a rental property.  You spent your precious spare time preparing your rental property.  You could have refurbished it, so it would be a place you would be proud to call your home.

You took on the risk of vetting tenants and checked their credentials and background.  You met your legal obligations to the government, insurance company, tenant and bank.

The return on this investment (which you put your entire life savings into) you were lucky if you broke even, and didn’t top up the bank loan.  There were no major repairs, damage, or insurance claims.  Tenants would always pay the rent, would never abandon your rental property, and it would be passed back in the same condition you rented it.

The fairytale is over.  Today, the being a landlord is increasingly a tough business to be in.  Yet with the right bank, accountant, lawyer and property management company – you will do well.

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Remember the Positives:

  • Auckland has a short supply of quality rental properties.  A property marketed at the right price will get a quality tenant.
  • Banks are still interested in lending to those who have shown they are disciplined in saving and repaying debts/loans.
  • Capital gain may have slowed.  Yet, over a 10-year period – property is still one of the best investments you can make.
  • Changes to the bright-line test from two to five years has meant some small investors have exited.  So competition is less for the serious investor.
  • You have the ability to improve your investment property.  You could subdivide your property to gain another rental unit.
  • You are in control of your investment.  You make the decisions on how to improve it, manage it, and grow your portfolio over time.

Get in touch with Kerry Kirwan about us managing your Auckland rental property, or portfolio of properties:

Talk to Kerry about Quinovic Parnell Managing Your Auckland Rental Property