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.

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.

 

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: