Frequently Asked Questions from Landlords

 

We have compiled a list of questions that are regularly asked by landlords. Although the list is quite comprehensive, we have not been able to include everything. Please contact us if you have any further questions.

Click on a question to see the answer.

 

1 Maximising Your Rent

How do you determine the best rent for my property?

We always strive to get you the maximum rent possible; however, we also must keep in mind the current market when setting the weekly rental rate, in order to get your property tenanted as soon as possible.
To do this, we consider these factors:
a) Demand- Is there a high or low demand for properties at present. This can be seasonal and affected by a number of factors.
b) What Is Available Now- we look at properties currently available for rent in the newspaper and/or the internet, and consider their location and features for comparison to calculate a maximum rent for your property
c) What We Have Rented Right Now- We compare your property with what we have currently rented, taking into account property location and features.
These factors allow us to give you enough information to set the right rent for your property.

What if I want a rent amount that is higher?

You may place your property on the market at the rental amount you wish. However, keep in mind that it is the market demand that sets the rent, and if the market (prospective tenants looking for a rental property) deem the amount of rent too high your property may stay vacant longer than necessary.
With this in mind, be aware your annual rental return will be reduced by 2% for every week it is vacant!

How is the rent reviewed during the time that you manage it?

When we need to secure you a new tenant we will always review the rent against market conditions. This will also be done at lease renewal time or at other times when required. We will always advise you when the rent is to be increased.

 

2 Getting the Best Tenant

How does a tenant apply for my property?

We always ask that the prospective tenant fill in a signed application form, requesting all their relevant details and giving permission for us to check the information provided.

What if an applicant contacts me (the landlord)?

If by the unlikely chance a prospective tenant contacts you to discuss their application, or in fact ask questions regarding their rejected application, we strongly advise that you request that they contact us (your agent). If they persist we strongly advise that you do not discuss anything further to avoid unnecessary problems and complications.

How do you check an applicant?

With the information provided we confirm their payment and tenancy history by calling their current and/or previous landlord/agent as well as confirming their employment, checking them against a National Database to see if they have been lodged as a bad tenant by a previous agent or have an unsatisfactory credit history.
In some cases where an applicant may not have a tenancy history, we try and confirm other information that may give us insight to show their ability to maintain a tenancy in your rental property, for example a stable employment history.
In some cases where this is not possible, we may simply reject the application.

What reason do you have to give the applicant to reject their application?

Legally we do not have to give a reason and by industry practice we never give a reason.

Who Selects The Applicant For My Property?

Your property manager does. We have the information that we have collected and by using our experience we will make the best selection possible for your property.

Do you guarantee the tenant?

We can never guarantee any approved tenant(s) for your property. We can only attempt to collect information on their past history and confirm their income arrangements. As their paying of rent and maintaining the property is purely voluntary we cannot guarantee any tenancy outcome. This is a landlord risk that comes with allowing someone else to rent your property. We do recommend with landlords that do not wish to take any risk, it is better to leave your property vacant longer rather than take unsuitable tenants just to get the property let more quickly.

 

3 The Marketing of My Property

What do you do to advertise my property?

Once we have a signed Management Agreement (including Property Schedules) authorising us to act on your behalf, we adhere strictly to the following procedure:
➤ We will erect a ‘For Rent' sign on your property within 2 working days of listing (if signs are permitted).
➤ We will place a listing for your property the Trade Me website and our own website www.hamiltonpm.co.nz. Each listing will include at least 3 photographic images of the property along with a detailed description.
➤ We will conduct an unlimited number of private viewings of your property and at least one ‘Open for Inspection’ each week until the property is leased (subject to access provided to us by any current occupant).
➤ All property viewings will be carried out by one of our representatives (we do not give out keys to prospective tenants).
➤ We will update you on the status of your available property at least twice each week and provide you with a weekly marketing report until such time as the property is leased.

 

4 Property Presentation

How should the property be presented?

We ask that the property be presented in the best manner possible to attract the right tenant for your property. We don’t want a bad first impression to detract the right tenant from renting your property.

How clean should the property be when a new tenant moves in?

The property should be presented ‘reasonably clean’ in accordance with legislative requirements.
As a very general rule we ask the tenant to leave the property at the standard they found it!
In cases where the property is provided in an extreme level of cleanliness we ask the tenant to leave the property likewise. However in the case of a dispute, legally we can only enforce that the tenant return the property in a ‘reasonably clean’ condition, this being their minimum legal obligation.

 

5 Pets at My Property (If Permitted)

If I allow dogs at my property, what expectations will be given to the tenant?

If permission is granted to keep a dog at the property, we ensure the following criteria and obligations are met:
a) No additional dog may occupy the property without prior permission.
b) The dog must be removed from the property if it becomes annoying or bothersome to neighbours (after reasonable warning has been given in writing).
c) The tenant must be responsible for any damage caused by their dog, and remove any rubbish or faeces deposited by the pet.
d) A condition of the tenancy is that upon vacating the carpets must be professionally cleaned, deodorised & flea treated.

We also record the details of dog on the agreement, which is then signed by the tenant.

How do I ensure that the dog will not come inside the property if that is a requirement we make?

We obligate the tenant to commit in writing that they will not bring the dog inside. However, as we are unable to monitor the property all of the time we cannot guarantee that dog will not come inside the home.
We do look out for any warning signs whilst at the property conducting inspections. However, the only way to ensure that a dog will not come inside the home is to insist ‘No Pets’ right from the start of the tenancy.

If I allow cat(s) at my property, what expectations will be given to the tenant?

If permission is granted to keep cat(s) at the property, we ensure the following criteria and
obligations are met:
➤ The tenant must be responsible for any damage or mess caused by their cat(s).

 

6 Receiving My Rent Monies

When do I get paid my rent?

We will deposit all monies collected, less disbursements and fees, directly from our secure Trust Account into your nominated bank account, either once or twice a month at your choice. If these days fall on a weekend or public holiday payment will always be made on the next business day.

How do you collect the rent?

All rents are paid to us by automatic payment into our secure Trust Account. Rents are checked on a daily basis.

When is rent in arrears?

If the tenant’s rent runs out today, it will be in arrears (overdue) tomorrow. But it will only be one day in arrears, even if the agreement is for rent to be paid two weeks in advance. Rent will be 21 days in arrears in 21 days’ time. Unpaid rent in advance is not counted as rent arrears.

What is the process when the tenant is in arrears?

We strictly follow our policy of zero tolerance for rent arrears. We have a separate section "Rent Arrears" listing the full process. Click here.

 

7 Inspecting My Property

Do you inspect the property at the beginning of a tenancy?

Yes, we conduct a comprehensive inspection of your property when a tenant first moves in.
We inspect your property area by area (lounge room, bedrooms, kitchen, front and rear yards, garage etc.
We record their condition and cleanliness item by item, and then a brief description and detail about the item. This would involve recording details of any marks, scratches and dents etc.
We also take digital photos outside, as well as inside the property.
The report is available at your online login, and will also be emailed to you.

How often do you inspect the property during the tenancy?

We do a first inspection at the property after 5-6 weeks. We then do routine inspections every 13 weeks after that, or more often if deemed necessary.
This inspection is not as detailed as the start of tenancy inspection as it is more of a ‘walk through’ checking room-by-room that the tenant is keeping the property damage-free and reasonably clean and tidy. We also check the smoke alarms.
We also note any maintenance issues and any other recommendations needed to assist you in keeping the property in the best condition possible.

What about when the tenant vacates the property?

When the tenant lets us know they will be vacating, we send them detailed information on our expectations of how the property needs to be presented.
Once the tenant has fully vacated and ready for the final inspection, we conduct this inspection with the tenant(s) present and compare the property to the commencement inspection report completed at the time the tenant moved into the property.
We carefully check through the report item-by-item, ensuring it has been left in the same condition as when they moved in, taking into account reasonable wear and tear for the period of time they have been in the property. This is a legislative requirement.
We ensure the property has been left reasonably clean & tidy. We check the smoke alarm, and also read the water meter (if applicable).

 

8 Bonds

How much bond do you take from the tenant?

The Residential Tenancies Act permits a bond of up to four weeks rent. We always request a bond equivalent to 4 weeks rent.

When do you pay back the bond monies?

1. The tenant has fully vacated the property and keys have been returned
2. The property has been inspected, and is satisfactory when compared with the commencement inspection report.
3. All monies are paid. This could be any outstanding rent, water or anything owed by the tenant.

 

9 Tenancy Agreements

What do you explain to the tenant(s) before they move into the property?

We go through all of the most important expectations. For example, how they must pay their rent on time, how to pay their rent, what we do if they do not pay their rent. We discuss our repairs and maintenance policy, what happens in an emergency repair situation, how often inspections occur and what we look for. We provide them with a “Tenant Kit” folder which contains all relevant information ie Electricity and Telephone provider contact details, who to contact in an emergency.

What do they sign?

We prepare a Tenancy Agreement covering the details of the tenancy, with terms and conditions.
We explain the main parts of the agreement to the tenant before we get them to sign it. We provide them with a copy of the tenancy agreement and we explain where the bond is lodged and get them to sign the Bond Lodgment Form.

When do they get keys and possession of the property?

After all the forms have been explained and signed, all bond monies and first payment of rent received.
A commencement inspection is conducted with the tenant(s) present, photos are taken and then we will then we provide them with keys and possession of the property. We also supply them with a copy of the commencement inspection report, which is signed by both parties.

 

10 Repairing and Maintaining My Property

Who is responsible for maintaining my property?

Landlords must maintain the premises. Tenants are responsible for any damage that they, or their guests, cause – either intentionally or carelessly.
Tenants must notify their landlord immediately if something needs to be repaired.
General wear and tear that occurs from tenants just living in a property is expected and legislation provides that it be allowed. A few extra marks and scuffs on the walls, some chips and scratches to doors and doorways will occur over time, along with the gradual wear of everything that is in the property.
The only time a tenant can be held responsible is if wear and tear is considered ‘excessive’ for the time frame that tenant has been in possession. For example, a newly painted property with walls severely marked after 2 years resulting in the walls having to be painted again may not be allowed as ‘reasonable’ wear and tear. In a tribunal this type of situation, if proved, could result with the tenant paying for the painting to be done, minus any depreciation for the age of the paintwork at that point in time when it was repainted again.

What about the smoke alarms and light bulbs?

These are both regarded as a landlord responsibility. We check the smoke alarm(s) at all inspections to ensure they are working, however we find that most tenants will replace the light bulbs themselves. We will replace them in the case where the tenant is not physically able to reach them.

What happens if a repair is required after hours, or on weekends?

Our policy on what constitutes an emergency repair & what does not is conveyed to our tenants at the start of the tenancy and supported by regular newsletters. We provide all tenants with emergency contact numbers and the property manager’s after-hours numbers.

Who is responsible maintaining the lawns and gardens?

Unless otherwise agreed, the tenant is responsible to maintain the lawns and gardens to the standard they were given at the start of the tenancy.

What about cleaning the roof gutters and pruning?

According to legislation it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure these are done. Of course, we can arrange gardener or handyman on your behalf to do these for you.