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

 

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.

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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.

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:

 

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:

FAKE News? Even the Rental Market isn’t Immune

Do you believe everything you read about the Auckland rental property market?  It might be correct, but could be out of date, incorrect, or even worse – it could be fake news!
 
We have all seen the attention-grabbing headlines.  Here are some recent samples:
  • Landlords worried as government moves on compulsory heating in rental properties
  • It was like being in a coffin – Aucklander shares experience renting in NZ’s most expensive city
  • Landlords welcome new meth report: money on problem that doesn’t exist
  • Property predictions for 2018
  • Meth-testing in homes – don’t bother
  • Rental home heating regulations should be in force
  • $1.3 million spent on meth clean up in state houses – just $3,000 on mould
  • What’s squeezing the life out of New Zealand’s rental market?
  • Landlords reveal why your rent is rising
  • Buying property for the short-term rental market
So how do you sort out what might be accurate or truthful, and what might apply to your own situation?
 
For example:
  • Did you know the rental market slows down at certain times of the year?  This affects the time it takes to rent properties and rental returns. It can vary from city to city.
  • Do you know what the rental market is doing right now, suburb by suburb, or city by city?
  • Are queues of prospective tenants a myth or reality for Auckland? Or does tenant interest vary according to location, and the type of property you are trying to rent?
  • Do you know about legislative changes affecting rental properties that come into law on 4 April 2018?
  • Do you know about changes to the law for rental properties that will be compulsory from 1 July 2019?
  • Do you know what these new laws are and how they apply?  Or are you relying on what’s been speculated in, or even relatively ignored by the media?  Do you understand how these changes will affect you and your property?
  • Are you aware of what a PCBU is, and how this affects you and your rental property?  Landlords, property managers and tenants all have obligations to discharge as PCBUs. (A person conducting a business or undertaking).
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By not knowing, you risk significant fines for non-compliance.  With the correct information you can significantly enhance your returns or find great tenants quicker.
 
Get in touch with the experts in Auckland property management.  Quinovic Property Management specialises in managing residential rental properties.  We have been managing properties for over 30 years and know the rental market inside and out.  It’s all we do.   With a nationwide network of 34 offices, 180+ staff, an in-house property lawyer, and thousands of properties under management – you can see why.
 

Our Free Offer to You

At Quinovic Parnell we are offering to give you free, up to date, accurate, informed and customised information;  relevant to you.  If there are enough people wanting the same information, we will publish the questions and answers.
 
Follow the link below to get in touch with Quinovic Property Management Parnell, Auckland: