Residential Property Owners Need Protecting Too

How protected are you as an owner of a rental property?
The government has signalled we are about to see changes in residential tenancy legislation. This includes banning letting fees paid by tenants.  There is still very little legislative protection for owners of rental properties.
This lack of protection was evident recently.  The NZ Herald reported the company owned and run by Auckland property manager David Sharma, operating under Ray White Henderson, owed 67 landlords more than $350,000 in unpaid rents The number of landlords owed money by Sharma has since increased and is now confirmed as being 72 and growing.
 
The liquidators reported that most rental payments owed to rental property owners dated to January and February of this year.  There were no company assets available for immediate recovery.  The company’s bank accounts were overdrawn.  The chances of any of these property owners seeing their overdue rental monies anytime soon is pretty non-existent.
 
So how was this allowed to happen?  Aren’t there legislation and rules to prevent these sorts of things from occurring?
 
Unfortunately, the answer is ‘no’.  Up until 2008, property management was an activity for which a real estate licence was required and overseen by the Real Estate Institute.  Yet when the Real Estate Agents Act came into effect, a real estate licence was no longer required.   This very low barrier for entry meant a lot of new people entered the industry, cutting corners and service delivery.
 
Why aren’t the rental monies at least deposited into a trust account? Again, because it’s not mandatory for property managers to operate one.
 
It is a question every rental property owner should ask their property managers. It’s not only the smaller players who don’t run trust acounts for rental monies. Sharma is a good example of this. Although his business traded as Property Management Out West Ltd, it was under the branding of Ray White Henderson.
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At Quinovic Property Management, we view a trust account as imperative.  It protects our owners’ money and the integrity of our property management services.  All our rental monies come into a centralised trust account.  Then they get disbursed directly and automatically to our rental property owners.  This system means no rental monies are received or controlled by our individual branches.
 
At Quinovic Property Management Parnell, we ensure investment properties are professionally managed to the highest standard.  We can also give you peace of mind, knowing your rental income is protected.  We assist Auckland rental property owners put plans and strategies in place.
 
Have your Auckland rental property managed by Parnell’s property management experts.  Discover how much your rental property could be earning with a rental appraisal.  Follow the link below to complete our online form:

Some Facts About Meth Testing of Rental Properties

Methamphetamine and other drugs are becoming an increasing problem for rental properties.  Alarmed?  We explain why you shouldn’t be.

Quinovic Property Management Parnell has a policy in place to help manage this threat on behalf of rental property owners.

Why you should test for methamphetamine before each tenancy

  1. We test 2 to 4 days before a tenancy starts.  This creates a baseline for future tests.
  2. It is the landlord’s responsibility to provide a clean, tidy and safe home for their tenants.  Completing the test meets tenancy law requirements.
  3. If you fail to test before a tenancy, you could find it difficult to prove contamination was due to the current tenant.
  4. The rental property becomes uninhabitable if contamination is found during a tenancy. The tenancy must end immediately.
  5. As a landlord, you are not responsible to supply alternative accommodation. It’s always good to help if you can.
  6. If a tenant can prove the rental property was contaminated before their arrival, they may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a refund of all rent paid. This has occurred more than once in New Zealand.
We don’t wish to frighten anyone off from being a landlord. Engage the professional services of Quinovic Property Management Parnell today. We will ensure you meet your legal responsibilities.
Follow the link below and get in touch with Kerry Kirwan to discuss us managing your Auckland rental property:

Tips for Renting Your Property

That Will Save You from Disaster

We’ve put together some tips when you’re renting your property to tenants.

Reference Check

Always ask prospective tenants for references and always call their referees.  If you rely on your own assessment of prospective tenants, this can lead to problems down the track.

Credit Check

Referees may be reluctant to make negative comments about a colleague or friend.  It is vital that you also carry out a credit check on prospective tenants.  Most debt collecting agencies can conduct credit checks.  You need to ensure you get the tenant’s permission first.

Tenant Check

To name a few, the following should be undertaken:

  • Background checks
  • Social media
  • Police
  • Credit
  • Verification of ID

A professional property management company will undertake these and more on your behalf.  Remember to get written permission from tenants first.

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Outline Expectations in the Tenancy Agreement

The tenancy agreement is the place to outline what you expect from your tenants.  It must clearly state if there are to be no pets, parties or smoking, the maximum number of occupants, and so on.  Failure to make specific conditions clear can lead to dispute.  If the matter goes to the Tenancy Tribunal, an unclear agreement puts you in a precarious position.  Neither party can sign away their rights under the Residential Tenancies Act.  Even if both parties agree to a clause at the time of signing a tenancy agreement, this clause may not be upheld if a dispute is taken to the Tenancy Tribunal.

Opt for a Fixed-Term Tenancy Over a Periodic Tenancy

You may find a good tenant who is going to pay the rent and look after your property.  If you sign them up for a periodic tenancy instead of a fixed term tenancy, they could give 21 days’ notice and leave.  This gives you very little time to find a new tenant, and it could cost you in lost rent.

A fixed term tenancy enables you to find new tenants before the current tenants move out.  This could potentially save you thousands of dollars.  It also enables you to protect against the property becoming vacant at a time of year when tenanting could be difficult, ie – November/December or mid-winter.

Take the Maximum Possible Bond

Many private landlords feel that no bond, or only two weeks bond is necessary.  It’s very easy for a property to be damaged, which could leave the owner out of pocket.  Tenants are given the right to live in an asset worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.  It is advisable to insist on taking the maximum bond possible of four weeks.

Lodge the Bond with the Department of Building and Housing

Always lodge the bond.  Not lodging the bond with the Department of Building and Housing is illegal.  If a tenant takes you to the Tenancy Tribunal, could be a fine for you of up to $1,000.  The actual amount is at the discretion of the adjudicator.  You could lose many hours dealing with the tenants and attending the hearing.

Talk to Kerry Kirwan about Quinovic Parnell managing your rental property:

Quinovic Property Management Parnell

How to Get Noticed when Applying for a Rental Property

In Auckland’s competitive rental property market – being turned down can be discouraging.  You could be competing against a number of other potential tenants for the same place.  Is it time for you to think outside the square?

You need to make a good impression on who is doing the viewing if you are to secure the rental property you want.  It could be a private landlord, a letting agent or a property manager that you will deal with.

There are many advantages to a property owner using a property management company.  So you could be dealing with a property manager from a property management company, rather than with the landlord.

The property manager does the reference, credit and background checks, and in due course provides the owner with their opinion.

Top Tenant Tips

At each viewing you attend, there may be a number of potential tenants there.  You should make yourself known to the agent by introducing yourself.  This is irrespective of how busy the viewing is.

Before the Viewing:

  • Make use of systems such as Viewing Tracker on Trade Me.
  • Familiarise yourself with the location of the property, and pre-plan which route you intend to take.  To ensure you arrive on time, take traffic into account.
  • Pay attention to what to wear at the open home and the first impression you will create.
  • If dealing with an agent – obtain a tenancy application form beforehand if possible.  You may be able to download one from the company’s website.
  • Fill out the application form before the viewing, and ensure you have a copy of your photo ID.
  • Put together a tenancy resume or similar, and include a photo.

The open home is usually the first time the property manager will have seen or dealt with any potential tenants.  It is vital you make a good first impression.

At the Open Home:

  • Be on time, and if you can turn up a little early.  If you are running a little late – it is courteous to let the property manager know.  Call or send a quick SMS if you are running behind time.
  • Introduce yourself to the property manager.  This is really important if there is a lot of interest in the property, or if it is in a sought after location.
  • Be sincere and honest, and communicate well.
  • If you could see yourself living at the property – let the property manager know you will put in an application.  Do what you say by following through.
  • If there is a viewing sheet at the property – fill it out.  You could be added to their office database and contacted about other available properties.  If unsuccessful for this property, you could be considered for another.
  • Resist the urge to openly criticise the property.  If it really doesn’t suit then you shouldn’t apply.  If the agent asks for your honest feedback – you should give your view without being overly critical.
  • If you pre-completed the application form – hand it to the property manager at the viewing together with a copy of your photo ID.  If you are from overseas you could use your passport as ID, and include a copy of your visa conditions.

After the Open Home:

  • If you emailed your application – follow up with the property manager by calling to confirm they received it.  Sometimes emails can go straight into junk mail, particularly those with attachments.  It is good practice to double check your tenancy application has been received.
  • Refrain from calling the property manager every few hours for an update. Property managers can be incredibly busy, and it can be very off-putting if a potential tenant is overzealous.

Get in touch with Quinovic Property Management Parnell

Auckland’s New Property Millionaires

The residential rental housing market is seldom dull.  What an eventful few weeks we have had!

Did you check the new Auckland property revaluations recently?  On the first day of online access 120,000 people checked 10.3 million Auckland Council property revaluations.

Auckland Council pre-empted a lot of increases.  They announced the average house price rose 46% to $1.076 million since the previous revaluation three years ago.

In June 2018 Auckland Council sets its new rate level.  It will be clear then how these increases translate into rent increases.  It is likely we will see upward pressure on residential rents.  Property owners and investors will attempt to maintain equilibrium in their rental returns.

Those new revaluations may already be out of date

Most property owners are aware the Auckland housing market has been cooling.  It also means it is likely some properties may be worth less than their new revaluation.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures released for year ending October 2017 state the Auckland median property sales price fell 3.2% year-on-year to $850,000. This is the biggest fall since December 2010, and the lowest median price in the last 16 months.  Yet it might not be as grim as it first seems.

There has been a glut of apartment sales in what was the old Auckland City Council area. This brought down the median value for the whole Super City region.  And it depends on how you measure “price”.  REINZ also do another calculation using a House Price Index (HPI) formula.  For the Auckland City legacy area, this only resulted in a decrease of 0.8% year-on-year.  HPI looks at the mix and value of the properties sold, not sales price alone. This makes an allowance for all those apartments.  Feeling better?

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Hold Don’t Sell

The slowing down of Auckland residential property sales has seen a lot more properties which didn’t achieve an acceptable sales price, convert to rental properties.  Depending on property equity, many reluctant landlords with a well-managed rental were surprised at the achievable returns.

Quinovic Property Management Parnell offers free residential rental appraisals.  You might be surprised at what you can achieve.  Get in touch with Kerry Kirwan to discuss your circumstances by clicking on the link below:

Contact Kerry Kirwan at Quinovic Parnell for a Free Rental Appraisal

It’s not always smooth sailing being a residential property landlord.  In November 2017 the Dunedin District Court overturned a ruling known as the Vic Inglis Tenancy Tribunal decision.  The Tribunal ordered Vic Inglis, the rental property owner, to refund his former tenant over $10,000 in rent.  This was due to having non-compliant alterations in his rental property.  Common sense prevailed.  The District Court ruled that although the technical breach was “unlawful”, as the tenant had not suffered from the breach, she must pay back the sum she had received.

Where a rental property has no full Code of Compliance sign-off, Tenancy Tribunal adjudicators will be able to base their rulings on the degree of unlawfulness and harm caused to tenants.  This should help ensure that resolutions are fair to all parties.

We say landlords should ensure their rental property complies with all building regulations and not knowingly take risks.

On a Positive Note for Tenants

Housing Minister, Phil Twyford, announced Government plans to pass the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill by Christmas.  Insulation requirements will be compulsory from 2019.  At Quinovic Parnell we have been talking to our rental property owners about insulation requirements for some time.

The Labour Government has indicated there will also be minimum standards for heating which is likely to be in the form of heat pumps.  Confirmation of insulation and heating requirements will be within six months of the Bill enacted.

Tips from Quinovic Parnell to Help Prevent Your Christmas Gifts Being Stolen

The festive season can be the time of year when thieves target your presents – both in your home and vehicle.  With the warm weather we tend to get out and about more.  There’s invitations and celebrations this time of year too – so you could be leaving your home unattended more than usual.

We thought now would be the perfect time to offer you some tips.  They apply to home owners and tenants of rental properties:

  1. Keep Valuables Out of Sight in Your Car:  When out Christmas shopping ensure valuables and gifts are out of sight.  In the Christmas rush it can be easy to put everything on the back seat and rush to the next store without a moment’s thought.  Use your boot or parcel shelf.  Check gifts and valuables are out of sight and ensure you lock your car if you need to leave it unattended.
  2.  Place Your Gifts Out of Sight Until Christmas Day:  Put off placing your gifts under the tree until as close to Christmas Day as possible.  It’s a good idea to close the curtains so all presents are out of sight.
  3. Store Valuable Items in a Secure Place:  Make sure your valuable presents are away in a lockable cupboard, stored in a bedroom or in a secure locked garage.
  4. Keep Boxes and Receipts Out of Sight:  Your boxes and receipts should be out of sight from prying eyes and we suggest making sure they aren’t visible through windows.
  5. Get Your Online Gifts Delivered Elsewhere:  Online shopping is more and more popular.  Get your online gifts delivered to an address where someone is there all day, or at your workplace.
  6. Avoid Placing Gifts in One Place:  While it’s tempting to store all your gifts in one place, it’s a good idea to store them in multiple areas in your home.
  7. Be Careful How You Dispose of Packaging from Expensive Items:  With so many great offers around the festive season it can be the perfect time to buy a big ticket item or upgrade the television.  Take your packaging away for recycling to the local refuse centre, or break or rip it into smaller pieces which are unable to be identified.

We hope our tips have helped you to enjoy your festive season.

Quinovic Property Management Parnell Tips

Keeping Your Rental Property in Good Shape

There is already a lot going on for residential property investors when it comes to maintaining their properties to an acceptable standard.  Are you aware there big changes?

From 1 July 2019 all rental properties are required under legislation to have ceiling and underfloor heating, with EECA, the government agency responsible for energy efficiency and conservation, being tasked to promote the government’s Healthy Homes Programme.  Investors who own rental properties need to stay up to date with their legal obligations, EECA’s websites are definitely worth reading.

Below are a couple of links to websites you could check out:

Setting up your rental property in advance of this increasing compliance focus gives a strong foundation for not just keeping it in good shape, but also in protecting those who live in it, and you as their landlord.  There will always be a cost to do this, however if ignored the cost can be much greater.

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There are obvious day-to-day things that are front of mind when it comes to a healthy home including:

  • Keeping your home warm and dry
  • Saving on power bills, etc

However, there are less obvious aspects that can be overlooked, especially after a property has been rented for some time.  No one wants to wake up to the news that their property has been the cause of a tragedy.

Here at Quinovic Property Management Parnell, we take our responsibilities to look after our tenants very seriously, and this includes having robust systems in place to make sure ongoing maintenance is taken care of, such as:

  • Electrical and gas work is properly certified
  • Appliances are serviced regularly
  • Heat pumps are cleaned regularly
  • Chimneys are checked and swept regularly
  • Smoke alarms are checked and serviced
  • Insulation meets the required standards

As well as the primary focus being the safety of tenants and their families, our maintenance programmes reduce the risk for landlords, including where there are any insurance claims, that these are approved.

For more advice or information about our residential property management services, follow the link below to get in touch with Quinovic Property Management Parnell:

Quinovic Property Management Parnell

Rental Properties that Accommodate Pets in Hot Demand

Allowing tenants with pets in your rental property can be a great opportunity for an astute landlord, as long as there are clear rules and boundaries up front.

Quinovic Property Management Parnell can help you to make the correct decisions for tenant and pet selection.

pet friendly rental properties

Some important considerations:

    1. Review your rental property and ensure what you are offering will be suitable for pets, and what type.
    2. Do you have a fully fenced property?  Do you have pet doors?  Do you live on a main road?  Will the home suit inside pets only, or can you cater for both inside/outside dogs/cats?
    3. What are the regulations for your apartment, townhouse or investment home?  Make sure you meet the requirements and know them before you enter into a tenancy agreement.
    4. Tenants and pets both need to be reviewed.  Make sure you check the references of the tenant but also meet the pet (especially dogs) to ensure you are comfortable with how it interacts with the owner.  If you are unsure of the breed of the animal, do your homework to ensure they will be suitable for your home.
    5. Most tenants with pets tend to be very grateful that you are considering them.  They still need to be checked, and you need clear rules around what you will and will not agree to.  You should record these clearly in the tenancy agreement and it should be signed by both parties at the start of the tenancy.
    6. Ask for a photo of the pet for your records, and a reference from someone who knows the animal.
    7. It is very important you have good property condition photos at the beginning of the tenancy, and you do regular inspections and reports to ensure you have robust records of any damage to the property, gardens, furniture etc.  Address issues before tenants leave as the bond may be insufficient to cover damage to carpets or walls from an inside pet.
    8. Marketing of the property should include what you see are the selling points such as secure, fully fenced backyard.  Highlight what would attract a tenant/pet owner, making sure you target what they could be looking for in the rental property.
    9. Be clear about what you are offering and agreeing to before the tenant moves in.  Record everything in the tenancy agreement including number of animals, type, name and whether they are to be inside or outside.  Do your homework!
    10. Get a bond for the property (four weeks minimum).  At Quinovic Parnell we also ask for an additional pet surcharge.  This is payable at the start of the tenancy and recorded in the tenancy agreement.  This covers deodorising of carpets and soft furnishings, and a commercial clean of the property at the end of the tenancy.  Further damage the pet may cause would need to come from the bond if necessary.

Follow the link below to get in touch with Quinovic Parnell about us managing your Auckland rental property:  Quinovic Parnell

Quinovic’s Top Reasons to Move into an Apartment

The Auckland apartment market is growing, and each month we are offered more options to buy.

Is it time to review the pros and cons of moving into an apartment?

Key Questions You Should Ask Yourself:

  1. If I was to downsize from the family home and move into an apartment – could I keep the family home and rent it out?  What would the rent be and whom should we use to manage the home?
  2. What if I sold the family home and with those funds could I buy maybe one or two apartments and also have enough to buy another townhouse or apartment for myself?
  3. Or maybe I move into the holiday bach and rent out my new investment apartments/townhouse or home? What if I sold the family home and with those funds could I buy maybe one or two apartments, and also have enough to buy another townhouse or apartment for myself?

Auckland apartment lifestyle, rental property, Quinovic Parnell, Quinovic property management

  • Location, Location, Location:  Apartment living is all about your location – moving into the city or its fringe, will give you easy access to public facilities like libraries, art galleries, town hall, theatre and public transport.
  • More Affordable:  Your apartment can be more affordable – even with a body corp fee to pay.  Gone is the maintenance of the home, gardens, insurance, and maybe the removal of the balance of the mortgage.  This can mean you have funds left over to live your life as you desire.
  • Lock Up and Leave:  Travel is more affordable than ever.  With the ability to lock up and leave – you have the opportunity to just leave, knowing there is a building manager you can contact if needed – and who will also take an interest to make sure all is well, whilst you are away.  Escape the weekend or head overseas – you have choices, especially if you have downsized and now have some surplus funds.
  • Choice Over Facilities:  Always wanted a heated pool, spa, sauna or gym?  Choose an apartment that will supply what you want – and share the cost of running these facilities with the apartment owners.  It’s great when you don’t need to leave home, and have these wonderful facilities on your doorstep.
  • Share Costs:  Yes you have a body corp which runs the complex and it is wise to be involved and show an interest in how it works.  The advantage is you have like-minded people sharing the decision making and who help to keep a well maintained building – your new home.
  • Opportunity:  Apartment living gives you a chance to review how much of your money will be invested in the family home.  Should you take some of that equity and make it work in an investment home/apartment or townhouse – or do you just use it to travel and see the world?

If you are looking at property management of your investment – get in touch with Kerry Kirwan from Quinovic Parnell today on 0220 108 005.

Why use a professional property manager for your rental properties?

Quinovic Parnell AucklandWith so many New Zealand landlords wanting to rent out their own rental properties we’d like to share a few of our property rental experiences with you.

Why should you use a property manager?

With our experienced property rentals team and proven monitored property management systems, we have the knowledge to avoid potential rental problems and minimise any potential tenancy downtime and expense to you as the property investor. At Quinovic Property Management Parnell, rental property management is our business. The team at Quinovic Parnell is well reputed in the Auckland property market. Almost all of our business is generated by referral from happy landlords.

Are you receiving up to date market rental?  
We are able to ensure you are receiving the best possible rent in today’s rental market; we have a strong reputation for improving the performance of your real estate assets and rental portfolio by reviewing your weekly rent scope regularly.
Our property managers ensure we get the very best of tenants for your property hence avoiding ongoing problems.

Quinovic Parnell Rental Properties Team are available 24/7 for those late night and early morning calls from tenants with problems leaving you to focus on your core business, and day to day life.

For more information or to talk to one of our Property Managers today, please get in touch with Kerry Kirwan today on 0220 108 005.