Finding, Securing and Managing Tenants
This is the deciding factor on whether or not you have a problem-free rental. Reference and credit checking is imperative to selecting the right tenant who will care for your property. Never accept a tenant application to rent your property until you’ve done all your checks and fulfilled all legal requirements.
Be prepared in some instances to deal with disputes make sure you are continually up to date with the Residential Tenancies Acts as knowledge of rights of landlords and tenants is imperative.
Look after your tenants. Good tenants are gold and ensuring your obligations as a landlord are met to provide and maintain the premises in a reasonable condition, as well as allowing the tenant the quiet enjoyment of the premises will contribute to a problem free tenancy.
What are your expectations as a Landlord?
Many new landlords/investors have an expectation that collecting rent is the only requirement for their rental. It is not taken into account the responsibility for repairs, maintenance, and yes, sometimes additional cleaning at the end of tenancies.
Fair wear and tear
New or old, a rental is a home to the tenant and it is to be expected that there will be fair wear and tear that occurs. It is unrealistic to expect the premises to always remain in a pristine condition and after a period of time it is reasonable to expect touch ups and possible replacement of worn items. Of course this dependent on the type of tenant occupying the property as some are harder on the premises as others.
It is an unlawful offence to ignore any maintenance requests or an order for work to be done and penalties are applicable and classified as an intentional breach by the landlord. The Residential Tenancies Act has been amended to make “breach without reasonable excuse” an unlawful act.
Get the right from the outset
Overpricing your property can lead to increased vacancy time, either by sitting unrented while advertising above what the rest of the market is asking, or by the loss of your tenants as they move on to another more reasonably priced rental. Advertising needs to be on point from the outset as the first 1-2 weeks of listing generates the most amount of interest. Price too high and you’ve lost all these opportunities to secure new tenants. Reducing your pricing at a later date is less impactful as the advert now becomes stale. Spend the time to assess the market prior to setting your rental rates to maximise your opportunity to find tenants. The market is ever changing and so is rental pricing in various cities and townships. Adopt the “get it right first time” approach!
Assess current market rates
Actual facts of bonds lodged and how much rents are achieving in your area can be obtained directly from the Tenancy Services Website. www.tenancy.govt.nz. This information combined with what is currently listed and at what rental pricing will ensure that you are well aware of market rents in your area at any given time. These market rates are actuals over the past 6 months and will give a good indication of where you are placed for an asking price.
Review your rental rates
Always ensure throughout an existing tenancy that rents are in line with current market rates. Rather than have good tenants leave for a similar property with lower rent, reduce to keep in line and keep tenants in your rentals. Less rent is the obvious choice rather than vacancy time and no rent while looking for new tenants.
Have a buffer fund at all times to cater for:
- Vacancy time in between tenants
- Maintenance on the property
- Emergency situations e.g. tenant losing their job or suffering other hardship
Landlords should insure their rental property against any damage, either accidental or otherwise. The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 requires you to pay the premiums charged for that insurance. Check exactly what your policy covers and ensure you are covered for tenant damages and possible rent arrears. Talk to your insurance company about their requirements for making claims as some insurers need landlords to prove they’ve completed a thorough tenancy selection process before honouring damage claims.