July 5, 2021
Happy Tenants make for Happy Landlords! Tips for landlords when changing tenancies.
We’ve heard a lot about how it’s become more challenging to be a landlord. Sure, there are new laws to follow, more hoops to jump through to become or remain compliant, but to us most of these rules make sense. Here are some tips when changing tenancies.
Get a rental appraisal.
Especially if you had to make improvements to comply with the “Healthy Homes Act”. It’s a good idea to compare the rent that you get for your property with others in the area.
The best way to get an accurate rental appraisal is to approach a property management company.
Don’t get left behind, the market moves quickly.
Follow all guidelines on the new “Healthy Homes Act”.
The new rules form a great blueprint for a to-do list before a new tenant moves in. Since you sign your compliance in the new tenancy agreement, you have to comply with the new rules. That includes insulation, heating, ventilation, moisture ingress, draft stopping. To avoid later conflict, it’s imperative that you understand the new legislation in relation to your rental property.
Take time between tenancies to make the home presentable.
Changing tenancies gives landlords an opportunity to get some remedial work done on the property. Don’t be tempted to squeeze too many tasks into the time between tenancies. Landlords frequently get caught short on time to have the rental looking “ship shape” when tenants come to inspect. This is a critical time, and your best tenants my move on to look elsewhere if the rental still looks a bit tardy. Losing a week’s rent is potentially less costly than taking the second-best tenant.
Pre-Move-In Property Inspection
Even with the time pressure on, take some detailed photographs, even of areas that are not looking the best. These photographs are evidence of what the property looked like at the start of the tenancy. After a few years (we expect tenants to stay long-term), it’s difficult to remember what everything looked like, and if there is a dispute, you have the photographic evidence. Include those photographs with your agreement.
On inspection (viewing) day, have application forms ready.
It’s not unusual to have over 20 or so parties through the rental in an hour. We recommend speaking to each party at the time. Even with the best memory and intentions, landlords forget who’s who. So, make sure you have enough pre-tenancy application forms and pens, and take the time to make your own notes on each application form. You can get a pre-tenancy application form from Tenancy Services here: (https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/starting-a-tenancy/new-to-tenancy/pre-tenancy-applications/)
Do a reference check.
Reference checks will highlight any areas that you may have missed during the meetings with the prospective tenants. We think that it’s one of the most important steps in tenant selection and at Metro NZ we make sure that reference checks are done completely and thoroughly.
Go through every step of the agreement with your new tenant.
This may seem tedious, but it’s worth spending time with your new tenant to go through every point in your agreement. Highlight clauses that are not in the standard agreement (https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/assets/forms-templates/residential-tenancy-agreement.pdf) especially clauses outlining shared areas (if they exist), pets, gardening and other maintenance expectations and take time to go through the “Healthy Homes Act” section.
During a change of tenancy many landlords realise the risk of owning rental property and the work involved. Often there is time pressure to complete the work since landlords don’t want to lose out on rent. Our advice is to be thorough in your preparation at the risk of some loss in rental income.
We also advise considering a property management company. We know all the pitfalls and the tricks to overcome them and can maximise the return on your rental property.
Give us a call at Metro NZ Properties. www.metronz.co.nz