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.

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:

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