Healthy Homes

The Healthy Homes standards affecting rental properties became law on 1 July 2019 and we have already successfully co-ordinated and passed the first hurdle.  This was to ensure there is appropriate insulation in all our rental properties, and to supply all tenants with insulation statements about the location and type of insulation.

We have followed on from this.  We are now also issuing ‘Statements of Intent to Comply with the Healthy Homes Standards’, which are now legally required as part of any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreements.  This statement confirms we are committed to meeting the future Healthy Homes legal requirements for that rental property.

What is Next?

From 1 July 2021, all private rentals must comply fully with Healthy Homes legislation within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy, with all private rentals needing to comply by 1 July 2024.

As implementation of the new legislation is being staggered over the next two to four years, the next critical deadline for owners is 1 July 2020. By this date we must provide all our tenants with confirmation about the “current status” of the property’s compliance, covering all aspects of the Healthy Homes’ standards, including heating, ventilation, moisture and draughts.

Healthy Homes Standards Deadline Quinovic Parnell

We Are Ready!

In order to ensure we have a full understanding on the state of compliance for every rental property (heating, ventilation, moisture and drainage are particularly complex/technical areas to confirm compliance under the standards), we are currently negotiating to have rental property audits carried out by qualified and independent external auditors.

We are also talking to all our recommended suppliers of heating and ventilation products.  Once we understand what each rental property needs, we can offer the best and most cost-effective solutions here too.

Is your property or portfolio of Auckland rental properties managed by a team of experts in Auckland property management?  Are you confident your Auckland property manager is aware of changes in legislation?  Get in touch with Quinovic Parnell today and talk to Kerry about the new Healthy Homes standards and how they affect your property.

Switch your property to Quinovic Parnell – Auckland’s experts in managing Auckland properties.

Get in touch today with Quinovic Parnell:

Phone Us:  +64 (09) 373-4353

Email Us:  enquiries@quinovic-parnell.co.nz

 

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Weren’t Things Going to Get Better for Renters? Are the Headlines Making YOU Think?

Things were going to get better for rents under this government, weren’t they?

Housing was the current government’s top priority in the run-up to the election in 2017 with campaign promises such as:

  • Cracking down on property speculators and removing negative gearing
  • Improving rights for tenants and introducing new legislation to provide greater security
  • Passing the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill to raise the standard of rental properties
  • Funding tenancy compliance investigation teams to hunt down and stop delinquent landlords
  • Banning letting fees
  • Increasing tenants’ rights
  • Creating a level playing field for first home buyers
  • Promising to construct 100,000 new homes in New Zealand over the next 10 years* as part of the Kiwibuild scheme
  • To be fair, some of these promises have become reality. Some are also causing confusion or creating concerns amongst rental property owners. In particular those with one or two investment properties

Quinovic Parnell have the expertise and knowledge to manage your Auckland property. Call 093734353

If this is you, it’s time to review the advice and services you are receiving.  You need to be sure the team you are working with knows how to help you maximise your investment returns.  They need to understand how to protect you from upcoming and ongoing changes in rental property legislation.

Talk to Quinovic Parnell.  We can help you to audit your home, townhouse, apartment or unit to ensure it meets the legislative changes coming as part of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill.  We can also analyse your rental rates and rental returns.  We can give you advice on how to best present and market your property to maximise its investment potential.

We have the staff, the training and knowledge to ensure you are getting the right advice.  We can partner with you to help you face ongoing changes.

Rather than go it alone – get in touch with Kerry Kirwan from Quinovic Parnell.  Talk to Kerry on 0220 108 005 about any aspects of the coming legislation that might be of concern.

* Source: Real-iQ

Auckland Rental Properties that Accept Pets are Always in Hot Demand

When looking for a rental property, it can be difficult to find a property that allows you to move in with your pets.  Nationally estimated figures for pet friendly rentals range from around 14% to 17%.  An astute landlord being open to pets can potentially increase demand for their property.  It can also provide an opportunity to secure responsible, committed and longer-term tenants.

Instead of ruling out all pet owners, we recommend working with your property manager.  Together you can establish fair, clear-cut rules and boundaries for pet-owning tenants. Only accept those tenants you feel are suitable for your rental property.

PetFriendlyRental-Cat&Dog

Some important considerations:

  1. Review Your Rental Property.  Is it suitable for pets and what type? Do you have a fully fenced property? Do you have pet doors? Will the home suit inside pets only, or can you cater for both inside/outside dogs and/or cats?
  2. Market Your Property for Pets.  Include selling points to attract great pet-owning tenants.  These can include a secure, fenced backyard, or the proximity of parks and dog walking areas.  Include any restrictions around accepting pets such as the number or type of pet you would consider.  Also mention whether the pet must be outside only.
  3. Know Your Restrictions.  You will need to know what body corporate or other regulations around pets may apply to your rental property.  Ensure you understand and meet any requirements before entering into a tenancy agreement.
  4. Check References.  Review and assess tenants and their pets.  Check tenant references and ask referees or past landlords about the pets.
  5. Meet the Pet if You Can.  Aim to meet the pet (especially dogs).  Ensure you are comfortable with how it interacts with the owner and other people.  If you are unsure of the breed, do your homework.  Every animal has different physical and emotional needs and idiosyncrasies.  Then ask yourself – will that particular breed be suitable for my home and grounds?
  6. Set the Ground Rules from the Start.  Most tenants with pets are very appreciative you are considering them.  Yet there still needs to be clear rules around what you will, or will not agree to.  These can include the number of animals, type/breed, name of the pet or pets, and whether they are to be inside or outside.  This information needs to be recorded clearly in the tenancy agreement.  It should be signed by both parties at the start of the tenancy.  Miss this step at your peril!
  7. Pet Photo.  Ask for a photo of the pet for your records.
  8. Photos Before the Tenancy.  It is vital you take good quality photos of the condition of the property and chattels before the tenancy starts. Follow this up with regular inspections and reports.  Address issues straight away as the bond may be inadequate to cover some types of damage.  This can include carpet replacement, repairs to walls, or damage to gardens and lawns.
  9. Four Week Bond.  Get a bond for the property (four weeks minimum).  At Quinovic Parnell we gain written commitment from pet owners at the start of the tenancy.  It is recorded in the tenancy agreement that at the end of the tenancy the tenants will cover various costs.  This includes the cost of deodorising the carpet/soft furnishings, flea treatments, and even a commercial clean.  Deducted from the bond at the end of the tenancy would be any damage the pet may have caused.
  10. Be Very Clear.  Remember – be very clear about what you are offering and agreeing to before the tenant moves in.  Record everything in a signed tenancy agreement.

We are professional and highly experienced residential property managers.  We can help you to make the correct decisions about tenants and their pets.  Right now we have many very responsible pet-owning tenants looking for pet-friendly properties.

Get in touch with Quinovic Parnell to discuss any aspect of renting your Auckland property to tenants with pets.  Call Quinovic Parnell today.

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.

 

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:

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: