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THE ULTIMATE LANDLORD GUIDE3

The Ultimate Landlord Guide

The team here at Pukeko Rental Managers are property management experts. We have been looking after properties for years - it's what we live and breathe. Check out our HUGE new resource for NZ rental property owners-  The "Ultimate Landlords Guide".

Our guide includes all sorts of great information to help New Zealand landlords and property investors understand what they are in for, tips, and tools they can use and where to get help if needed. It is the ultimate landlord's guide.

And this is just the start...

While our HUGE new resource is actually not that huge just yet, we will add to it regularly after feedback from our own landlords and the property investment community around New Zealand.

So take a look and let us know what you think.

Guide Version 1 (May 2019) 

 Content Summary

1. Buying And Selling A Rental Property

2. Finance And Banking

3. Rental Property Renovations

4. Rental Property Law

 

 5

1. Working with house valuations

There is a range of situations when you may need to organize a valuation of your home. One tends to be when you are buying or selling a property. There are many key aspects that determine the value of a property - many of these are set in stone like location, size and even the type of property (house/flat, etc). However, we want you to get the most out of your properties and so we have compiled a small list of things you can influence to help increase the valuation of your home. 

  • Have the place looking great - treat the valuer's visit as you would an 'open home'. Keep the place tidy, make sure the garden is free of weeds and repair anything obvious like broken fence palings. 
  • Point out hidden benefits - if it's a hot day, turn on the air conditioner or the pool filter. This doesn't only show the valuer that these aspects are in working order, but it also demonstrates everything the property has to offer. 
  • Keep a note of local sales from houses in the area - hold on to marketing brochures or flyers from recently sold properties. This allows the valuer to confirm the selling price with the agents.

2. Choosing a rental property

Choosing the right rental property can be difficult. There are various aspects to keep in mind when looking to buy or sell a rental property. How many bedrooms should there be? What are the new trends - are more people preferring multiple bathrooms or walk-in wardrobes? Or is it both? Are more rentals being used more for individual people, or is it large families? All are important questions to consider when buying a rental property. 

One thing is certain. The majority of home buyers are millennials. This means, if you are looking for a property around the three-bedroom mark in the suburban areas, you may expect some competition. Many millennials are after low-maintenance lifestyles - this means energy efficient homes, locations with affordable costs of living and within walking distance of public spaces (towns, bus stations, supermarkets, etc). It is important to know what you want in a rental property. Create a list - we believe it may help lay out your wants and do not wants, in a visual and clear manner.

3. Our free property rental appraisals 

When you ask for a FREE property appraisal from us here at Pukeko Rental Managers, we send you an experienced and local rental property manager. We won't fob you off to administrators and subcontractors!

Our free property rental appraisal is designed to help you make informed decisions regarding your investments with someone who really knows the business.  

For more information on our free property rental appraisals; click here

 

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1. Your first investment property 

Deposits are needed for purchasing houses and can be made up of a combination of savings, KiwiSaver, or even help from family. Here is a useful link on the different ways you can get together a deposit. 

1.2 Useful tools:

Below are several useful tools that we recommend to help you calculate mortgage repayments, amounts you can borrow and interest totals. 

2. Lending options

Sourcing the funds together for household decisions - whether that be a home loan to buy a house, or a loan to make renovations to the house, there can be a lot of options in and around the country. The team here at Pukeko Rental Managers believe it is important to remember that there is no obligation to go with your regular bank and that you can shop around to find the best loan deal. We believe that it is also important to note that if you make repayments as high as feasibly possible, you will be able to pay it off quicker...therefore resulting in paying less interest. 

Some of our top choices for lending are the following:

3. Market advice 

The team here at Pukeko Rental Managers always have their finger on the pulse when it comes to market trends and even law changes. One way to stay up to date with changes and trends is to follow us on Facebook. We post regular updates about what is going on in the housing and investment industry so that you are always up to date. 

 

8

1. Rules and safety

It is important to note the Building Act 2004. The Building Act outlines clear information regarding laws and legislation when it comes to making changes or alterations to your home. Some of the following structures that need consent for building are: Sheds greater than 10sq in floor space, patio or decks at ground level, relocating buildings, fences or walls higher than 2.5 metres, and so much more. If you want to know more, check out the Rental Property Law section below or read more on the Building Act here

2. Contractors

Contractors can be useful when it comes to remodeling and carrying out renovations. You will need to manage the process and stay on top of what is being done, but it can be an effective way to ensure renovations get done to high standards. We have some tips when working with contractors that you may find useful. 

  • Avoid allowances - allowances or guesses as placeholders for budgets can be dangerous. It is important to acknowledge that these guesses or allowances are just that - guesses! For example, you have not chosen new hardware for plumbing the kitchen. The contractor may provide an allowance in the budget for this. His or her guess/allowance may be far lower than what you end up spending. We advise organizing materials and products before the contractor gets started on the job. In our opinion, it is the best way to get a clear and concise budgetary figure.
  • Communication is key - all contractors may like to work differently. Some may prefer you communicate onsite, some may prefer a phone call. It is important to establish what the best form of communication is before renovations begin.  
  • Be a good customer! The team here at Pukeko Rental Managers believe it's important to ensure contractors like working with you. If you are indecisive and barely acknowledge them, you may not find yourself receiving the quality of work that you want. 
  • Be proactive about the work carried out - ensure it is checked and write down any notes or questions you may have. 

3. Suppliers

There are a lot of suppliers across New Zealand that can assist in DIY renovations if you are looking to do so yourself. Safety and remodeling up to code still need to be at the forefront of your mind, though! Sometimes DIY jobs can be cheaper, but if money is an issue - it may be worth looking into getting a quote for both. 

Some of our favorite go-to suppliers are:

 

4

1. The Acts

At the foundation of becoming a landlord and owning property, there are several main legal acts. These Acts not only protect your property but also you as a landlord.

So why is it important to learn about these Acts?

1.1. Fair Trading Act – The key focus of the Fair-Trading Act is to prohibit false or misleading representations of the property. This is particularly applicable in what a landlord says or does not say about a property in relation to compliance with the Building Act. Under the Fair-Trading Act 1986, silence is not a defense.

1.2 The Human Rights Act - Discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly or less favourably than another person in the same or similar circumstances. It is unlawful under the tenancy law when it breaches the Human Rights Act.

When providing accommodation, it is against the law to choose tenants based on:

  • Gender
  • Religious or ethical beliefs
  • Race or colour
  • Nationality, ethnicity, origin or citizenship
  • Physical or mental disability or illness
  • Age
  • Political opinion
  • Employment status eg, if unemployed or on a benefit
  • Marital and family status – including any responsibilities for dependants
  • Sexual orientation.

For example, a landlord cannot turn down a potential tenant because they go to a certain church. They also cannot change an agreement after it is signed because they find out the tenant is unemployed.
Find out more by clicking here.

1.3 The Privacy Act - As a landlord, you collect personal information about tenants. This can be on the pre-tenancy application form or the residential tenancy agreement. It’s important to know your obligations under the Privacy Act 1993:

  • You must have a lawful purpose for collecting the information that’s relevant to the tenancy
  • You must let the tenant know why you’re collecting the information, what it’ll be used for and who it’ll be shared with
  • You can’t use the information for anything other than what you said it’ll be used for
  • You can’t share it with anyone else unless the tenant says you can
  • You must store the information securely so no one else can access it
  • The tenant has the right to access the information and to correct it.

For more information on the Privacy Act and codes of practise; click here.

1.4 Building Act 2004:
The Building Act 2004 is the holy grail of building within New Zealand. It sets the rules for construction, alteration, demolition, and maintenance of buildings in New Zealand. 

The starting point for a rental property to be deemed healthy and safe are adhering to the Building Act 2004 and the Building Code. These apply to new building work and don’t affect existing buildings unless they’re renovated, altered or change use. 

Each Local Council will have variations on the Building Code, so make sure you check with your local Council before making any changes to your property.

To find out more about this act and what your responsibilities are - click here

1.5 Residential Tenancy Act 1986:
Without tenants, you wouldn’t have Landlords.

The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) defines the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants of residential properties. These laws are set to provide a baseline set of laws to protect both the Landlord and the Tenant.

So as Ultimate Landlords you need to be aware of not only your rights but those of your tenant. To learn more of your responsibilities check out the Tenancy Services Site. There, they list not only a copy of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, but they clearly bullet point the major points of being an ultimate Landlord; these include-

  • Making sure your property is in a reasonable condition
  • Meeting all relevant building health and safety standards
  • Informing the tenant if the property is for sale – this must be in writing
  • Letting the tenant have quiet enjoyment of the property
  • Making sure the tenancy agreement is in writing
  • Keeping their contact details up to date
  • Not changing the locks without permission
  • Discrimination
  • Bonds
  • Body Corporate

To find out more about what rights tenants have under the Tenancies Act check out the Tenancy Services website.

These legal acts need to be in the back of your thought process with every decision you make. This will help your landlord process run smoothly not only for you but also for your tenants. If you are requiring more information about these Acts, please contact one of our experienced Pukeko Rental Managers today, or download our E-Book on what Landlords NEED to know. 

2. Unlawful Premises 

All properties in New Zealand must reach a certain standard for someone to live within them.
Unlawful residential premises are categorised as premises occupied for residential use which have been constructed for another purpose, such as a garage or a commercial building, or properties which do not comply with relevant building health and safety legislation.

Here are a few examples of types of Unlawful Dwellings:

  • Dwelling constructed without a building consent of any kind
  • The dwelling had a building consent but not approved for human residence e.g. garage
  • The dwelling has a building consent for permanent human residence but does not have a code of compliance for being rented separately e.g. granny flat
  • Building consent for permanent human habitation but the owner has added facilities such as a kitchenette
  • The dwelling has consent but the owner has added extra rooms so part of the dwelling is unlawful e.g. House that had an outside deck that has been closed in by adding walls.

A rental property could also be unlawful if the occupation of the premises breaches a condition of a resource consent or the relevant district plan.

Other issues are health and safety issues for example water dripping through electrical fittings, lack of insulation, mould throughout the house, infestations, etc.

For some of these aspects like insulation, you may find that there are grants and subsidies that may help you pay for these. For example, there is a current subsidy for helping a landlord put insulation into their properties. Check it out here.

The last thing you want when renting out a property is for it to be classified as Unlawful. 
If a property is found to be unlawful, the tenants can give 48 hours’ notice or apply to the Tribunal to end a tenancy, as well as the landlords been fined up to $50,000.

The best way to avoid such situations is to get on top of issues as quickly as possible.

 2.1 Affected By Meth:

Another possible reason for a house to be considered unlawful would be if the property was affected by Methamphetamine.

If a landlord rents out a contaminated property you may be breaching your obligation under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, along with other legislation such as the Building Act 2004 and the Health Act 1956.

As a Landlord keeping your tenants safe is the most important part of being a landlord.  Testing for Meth is a good way to make sure your tenants are safe. Testing can be done at any time between tenancies. During a tenancy, landlords can only test with the agreement of the tenant.

For more info on meth inspections - see here

For more information on the New Zealand Standards on Methamphetamine-contaminated properties - click here. 
If you suspect your property is been used for Meth use, manufacture or sale, you should contact the Police and your local Council.

The short of it is, make sure you know the basis of laws around your property; has it had alterations? Are these reflected on the blueprints? Has Methamphetamine been used on the property? If you need help with this, make sure you contact one of our experience Pukeko Rental Managers, as they will be able to help you manage your property. 

 

 

Becoming the Ultimate Landlord takes knowledge and understanding of not just law, but property updates and trends, what tenants are looking for, how to choose the right tenants and end choosing the right rental. Achieving this and Ultimate Landlord status will in the long run work in your favour, this will help attract good tenants and, in the end, make property ownership more enjoyable for both you and your tenant.

Do you still want to know more? Why don't you check out our E-Book on what Landlords NEED to know, this will help you through questions, information on everything from tenancy agreements, insurance, fair trading rights and much more. 

Wanting to be a Landlord but not have the stress, then contact us today at Pukeko Rental Managers, to discuss with us how we can help manage your property for you.