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.

 

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:

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).
201807-FakeNewsBlogArticleImage
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:
 

Are You Thinking of Buying an Investment Property?

Even if you are a seasoned property investor, but especially if you are relatively new to property investment, our advice is to “get advice”.

There’s much to consider:
  • Is it a good investment for me? Do the numbers work?
  • Do I know all I need to know about the property from a legal perspective?
  • What sort of rental return can I expect?
  • What improvements can I make to increase the value of the investment?
  • What type of features appeal to tenants; what are they looking for?
Here are a few tips that might help your decision making.

 

Bedrooms
The number of bedrooms is generally the first factor in determining how much a property will rent for. The bedrooms, the greater the rental income potential. Bedroom size is also important – they should all be big enough to accommodate a double or queen-sized bed.

 

Living Areas
The number of living rooms should be in proportion to the number of bedrooms. Usually, if there are four or more bedrooms, there should be more than one living area. Living areas are areas used for general living, ie – a space that can fit a couch, coffee table and TV. They also need to be far enough apart so that noise isn’t an issue. For instance, a house that has a combined lounge/dining upstairs and a rumpus room downstairs is considered to have two living areas.

 

Kitchens and Bathrooms
New or renovated kitchens and bathrooms are more appealing to tenants and “sell” rental properties. They also help maximise the sales price of properties when sold. Like bedrooms, the number of bathrooms can also influence the rental return.

 

Outdoor Living Area
Properties with an outdoor living area are easier to rent than those without any outside options.  Ideally, there should be enough space for a barbecue and seating for 4 to 8 people.  Yet anything is usually better than nothing.
Grounds should be low-maintenance and well maintained in the front and back. Consider the cost of lawn and garden maintenance and who you think should be responsible – you or your tenants.

 

Rental Property Investment

Presentation:
Properties that need repairs and maintenance aren’t appealing to tenants.  Property presentation is also a very important consideration.  As the property owner, home maintenance inside and outside is your responsibility, not your tenants.  It makes economic sense to ensure your property is presented in the best possible way.

At Quinovic Property Management over the past 30 years we’ve learned a lot about rental properties. We’ve helped residential property investors maximise the potential of their rental assets.

 Are you looking for independent, honest advice based on experience and knowledge?
Get in touch with Quinovic Property Management Parnell by clicking on the link below:

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: