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  It might be correct, but could be out of date, incorrect, or even worse – it could be fake news!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:
 

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:

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.

Tips from Quinovic Parnell to Help Prevent Your Christmas Gifts Being Stolen

The festive season can be the time of year when thieves target your presents – both in your home and vehicle.  With the warm weather we tend to get out and about more.  There’s invitations and celebrations this time of year too – so you could be leaving your home unattended more than usual.

We thought now would be the perfect time to offer you some tips.  They apply to home owners and tenants of rental properties:

  1. Keep Valuables Out of Sight in Your Car:  When out Christmas shopping ensure valuables and gifts are out of sight.  In the Christmas rush it can be easy to put everything on the back seat and rush to the next store without a moment’s thought.  Use your boot or parcel shelf.  Check gifts and valuables are out of sight and ensure you lock your car if you need to leave it unattended.
  2.  Place Your Gifts Out of Sight Until Christmas Day:  Put off placing your gifts under the tree until as close to Christmas Day as possible.  It’s a good idea to close the curtains so all presents are out of sight.
  3. Store Valuable Items in a Secure Place:  Make sure your valuable presents are away in a lockable cupboard, stored in a bedroom or in a secure locked garage.
  4. Keep Boxes and Receipts Out of Sight:  Your boxes and receipts should be out of sight from prying eyes and we suggest making sure they aren’t visible through windows.
  5. Get Your Online Gifts Delivered Elsewhere:  Online shopping is more and more popular.  Get your online gifts delivered to an address where someone is there all day, or at your workplace.
  6. Avoid Placing Gifts in One Place:  While it’s tempting to store all your gifts in one place, it’s a good idea to store them in multiple areas in your home.
  7. Be Careful How You Dispose of Packaging from Expensive Items:  With so many great offers around the festive season it can be the perfect time to buy a big ticket item or upgrade the television.  Take your packaging away for recycling to the local refuse centre, or break or rip it into smaller pieces which are unable to be identified.

We hope our tips have helped you to enjoy your festive season.

Quinovic Property Management Parnell Tips

Managing Your Residential Rental Property:

The clouds are forming.  Anyone involved with managing residential property needs to understand this.

Housing was a key issue in the recent election and we have a new coalition government.  Changes are definitely coming.  They have indicated that renting will be more stable and healthy for families.  So changes are most definitely coming!

Are you aware of recent past changes to your responsibilities as a landlord?  The big issue last year was smoke alarms and all home/apartments should be meeting the standards.  Make sure you know how this applies to your property.

Changes to the rules about insulation are compulsory from 1 July 2019.  Savvy landlords are looking to meet these standards sooner rather than later.  They know there are only a limited number of quality insulation installers available.

Some landlords have left things to the last moment.  It is likely costs will increase as installers struggle to finish all work by the deadline.

What should you be doing right now?  If you are a first-time landlord make sure you get a Landlord Pack from Tenancy Services.  Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 it will tell you:

  • What protections and responsibilities you currently have
  • Tell you how to lodge a bond
  • How to keep track of rental payments
  • How to go about selecting good tenants and what you can do if your tenant breaches tenancy law

Landlords and tenants must both respect “quiet enjoyment.  Are you aware of the responsibilities you have towards your property’s neighbours?  Do you let your tenants know about their responsibilities?

What about your responsibilities for locks, security, repairs and damage?  Experienced landlords would be wise to ensure their practices are up-to-date and robust.

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And then there’s the rental property insurance minefield.  Are you aware of how your insurance policies work and what they cover (and don’t cover).  This includes requirements for regular inspections, detailed property reports and relevant photos.

Moving forward, what can you expect?  Healthy homes are warm and dry.  You need to make sure your rental property is well-ventilated and has heating.  Our view is that over time a heat pump will be the least standard.

A Warrant of Fitness for rental properties will likely soon be essential.  It would cover ventilation, insulation and heating requirements.

Your future options.  The reality of being a landlord is you are running a business with its risks as well as rewards.  Being a landlord is no longer a hobby or part-time job.

At Quinovic Parnell it is our job to keep up with what is happening in all aspects of property management.  Our expertise allows us to help our owners plan ahead and maximise investment return.

Our knowledge and experience allows us to assist our rental property owners mitigate risk
With proven systems in place we check and report on all compliance areas affecting your property and tenants.

Talk to Quinovic Parnell about partnering with us.  We are your specialists in residential property management.  We commit to looking after you and your property with both care and return.

Get in touch with Kerry from Quinovic Parnell today about us managing your Auckland residential property:

Get in touch with Quinovic Property Management Parnell

Tips for Rental Property Investors

Property investing can be a risky business.  Follow our tips to maintain a long-term reliable rental income from your investment property.

Purchase Quality Fixtures & Fittings

Under-budgeting, and purchasing low quality appliances is a mistake many property owners make.  Low quality fixtures, fittings and appliances often require regular maintenance more frequently, and need to be replaced after a much shorter period.  This causes the cost to be more expensive than if a quality item was purchased in the first place.

Tenant-Landlord Relationships

Maintaining a professional relationship with your tenants is a great way to encourage them to stay longer and take good care of your property, helping maintain a reliable rental income.  Good communication and goodwill goes a long way in maintaining good landlord-tenant relationships.  Tenants generally expect enquiries and requests to be answered in a timely manner, and appreciate you being friendly and co-operative – remember goodwill reflects goodwill.

Preventative Repairs

Does the roof need to be repaired?  Are the windows leaking?  Is the property secure?  Look out for any preventative repairs required during property inspections to reduce the occurrence of damage over time.

Investing Badly During Renovations

When landlords decide to invest in a rental property it’s often with the goal to increase its rent income and tenant demand.  Yet all too often people fail to invest in quality products that will earn profits in the long-term.  Though it’s tempting, try to avoid cheap, low quality paint, wallpaper, carpets and tiles.  These have a habit of wearing out quickly.  Discerning tenants look for better quality and you may be cutting some of the best tenants out of your market.

Quinovic Property Management Parnell Gives Tips for Rental Property Investors

Price-Rent Ratio

Don’t make the mistake of sealing the deal and purchasing investment properties without fully understanding the financial situation.  Take the time to first consider what the cash flow will be, how the property will help your financial position, and what initial maintenance may need to be done to attract good tenants.  Analyse the gross yield and net yield of the property, then calculate what you will earn after all the costs are taken into account.  You may even find the property isn’t as profitable as you first assumed.

Managing the Property

Managing properties is more than just being available to answer tenant calls all day every day.  Make sure you keep on top of the paperwork too.  Often we hear about landlords who let rent arrears get out of control with thousands owned.  A simple spreadsheet and swift contact with the tenant can help you keep on top of rent arrears, maintenance costs, endings of tenancies, help you measure the financial success of the property, and remind you when the rent value can next be looked at.  Thus creating a less stressful investment and a more confident investor.  Another common mistake made by self-managing landlords is the avoidance of properly checking and recording the condition of a property, at the beginning and end of each tenancy, and at regular property inspections, then letting damage go by without claiming the repair cost from the tenant.

Find Out More

To find out more about property management get in touch with Quinovic Parnell – experts in property care and return.  Click on the link below:

Get in touch with Quinovic Property Management Parnell