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

 

Tips to Keep Your Home Safe this Holiday Season

If you’re going away for the holidays, here are some tips to help keep your home safe.  You might like to print this blog post and keep it handy when you next go on holiday.

It can be a busy time of year and there are many things to do and to remember.  With so much to do it can be easy to forget about our security, and taking care of the little things.

Thieves can be particularly, especially as we are out and about more and away on holidays.  Irrespective of the time of year – each time you leave your home it becomes vulnerable.  It’s vitally important to make security part of your daily routine.

Tips from Quinovic Property Management Parnell in Auckland To Keep Your Home Safe This Holiday Season. Christmas and New Year

  1. Dispose of Wrappers and Packaging Carefully.  If you purchase a laptop, electronic gear, or a big ticket item, ie – a new flat screen television or appliance – cut up packaging to disguise what you have received.
  2. Check All Windows and Doors are Locked.  As the weather heats up, there’s a temptation to open windows, and it can be easy to forget to close all of them.  Ensure you lock doors too, even if you’re going to be tending to plants in the back garden.  Garages with direct access into your home also need to be locked.  A thief can access your property in a moment.
  3. Lock Up Your Sheds.  Unlocked sheds with tools mean a thief can use them to access your home.  Ensure your garden and tool sheds are secured.
  4. Lock Your Side Gates.  Unlocked side gates can give strangers access to the back of your property and you should take care to lock any side gates.
  5. Watch Your Wheelie Bins.  Wheelie bins can be used to climb over a gate, or wheeled around the back of your property to gain access to a high up window left ajar.  Consider chaining your wheelie bins up, or locking them away in your garage while away for periods of time or on holiday.
  6. Don’t Leave Valuables in Your Vehicle.  It can be tempting to leave items in vehicles overnight in your driveway.  Ensure any valuables are out of sight, and take your wallet and laptop with you.  Just because your car is parked in your driveway, doesn’t mean it won’t be seen.  Make sure you keep your vehicle locked at all times, even if it is parked in your garage.  If planning trips to the beach or bush walks – cars left unattended for several hours are very often a target.
  7. Cancel Regular Deliveries.  Uncollected newspapers and regular deliveries are an indicator you’re away.  Cancel newspaper subscriptions and other deliveries.
  8. Ensure Insurance Policies are Up to Date.  Make sure your insurance policies are up to date.  If you are going away for a long period, you should let your insurance company know.
  9. Know Your Neighbours.  You could ask a friend or neighbour to collect your mail and monitor your property while you are away.  They could even open and shut the curtains for you.  Ask them to put your rubbish and recycling bins out for collection, and to put them back again once collected.
  10. An Empty Carport is a Signal.  You could ask a friend or neighbour to park one of their vehicles in your carport.  An empty carport signals there is no one home.
  11. Garden Maintenance.  If you’re away for a period of time – arrange for your garden to be tended to, and lawns mowed.  Shrubs which hide windows should be trimmed back.  If you’re living in a home where your gardens and lawns are tended to – all this should be taken care of already.
  12. Make Your Home Appear Occupied.  Even if you’re going out for a few minutes, create an illusion you are home by leaving a light or radio on.  If you’re going away for a period of time – you could set up a lamp to come on at night and go off in the morning.  You can program some to come on at random times.
  13. Activate Your Alarm.  If you have a security alarm, ensure you activate it while you are away.  If you’re living in a home without an alarm – you could consider purchasing (relatively cheaply) motion sensitive cameras.  Some send you a message or email once activated, and they record footage.  You could purchase one or two cameras to give you peace of mind.  And if you move on from the property – you can take your security cameras with you.
  14. Hire a Property Manager:  If leaving your home for quite some time while you go overseas on holiday, or move due to work commitments – hire a property manager to rent your home while you’re away.  Quinovic Property Management in Parnell, Auckland manages residential properties Auckland-wide.  Get in touch with Kerry from Quinovic Parnell to find out how we can help.  Call Quinovic Parnell today.

We hope these tips help you to make your home more secure year-round.  Quinovic Parnell wishes you a Happy New Year, and a safe holiday season.

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:

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

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?

Quinovic-Property-Management-Parnell-Propety-Investment

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.

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