Frequently Asked Questions
1 About 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.
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 About Tenants
How does a tenant apply for my property?
We have an online portal application. This is a great tool provided by The Tenancy Practice Service and can be found at www.tpsportal.co.nz/tenancy_ap...
This same tool allows us to run all of the required checks on the tenant - background and credit checks - using the information provided.
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. If you, as the owner, want to have a say in choosing the tenants from a shortlist we can do that.
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 About Pets
If permission is granted to keep a dog at the property, we ensure the following criteria and obligations are met:
- No additional dog may occupy the property without prior permission.
- The dog must be removed from the property if it becomes annoying or bothersome to neighbours (after reasonable warning has been given in writing).
- The tenant must be responsible for any damage caused by their dog, and remove any rubbish or faeces deposited by the pet.
We have found that when a property is advertised that will allow a dog, we receive some extremely good applicants that otherwise would not be applying. Of course we request references for the dogs if they have lived previously in a rental home. Many applicants with dogs are families moving from another city where they own their own home and are moving for work.
If permission is granted to keep cat(s) at the property, the tenant is responsible for any damage or mess caused by their cat(s).
4 About Landlord Payments
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 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.
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.
How often do you inspect the property during the tenancy?
We do a routine inspection at the property after about 6 weeks. We then do routine inspections every 13 weeks after that, or more often if deemed necessary.This routine inspection is not as detailed as the start of tenancy inspection as it is more of a ‘walk through’ checking that the tenant is keeping the property damage-free and reasonably clean and tidy.
We check the smoke alarms are in place and working.
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).
What is the Health & Safety at Work Act?
The Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) shifts the focus from monitoring and recording health and safety incidents to proactively identifying and managing risks so everyone is safe and healthy.
We need to proactively identify and manage its health and safety risks, and make sure information about health and safety is shared with workers, and workers are engaged in matters that could affect their health and safety.
Do Landlords/Property Managers have a duty under the Act?
Yes. Under HSWA, a Landlord/Property Manager is considered to be a PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking).
As a result, a Landlord/Property Manager has a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers, and that the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk from its work. These duties apply to matters over which the Landlord/Property Manager has influence and control.
Example 1 - you have a responsibility to ensure that the people you engage to do any work on the property are competent and appropriately qualified to do that work. The business who is engaged to do the work is responsible for ensuring that the work they do does not cause harm to themselves or anyone else on the property.
Example 2 - if there is a dog on the premises, you would need to arrange with the tenant to keep the dog contained while the tradesperson is on the property. This is within your influence and control.
The tradesperson also has a responsibility to ensure there are no health and safety risks to anyone arising from the work they are carrying out.
Note however, that under the Health and Safety at Work Act, the Landlord/Property Manager are not responsible for the actions of tenants while they are living in the property.
Example - if your tenant takes it upon themselves to carry out some repairs on your property, and a serious incident occurs, as the property owner you would not be liable under the new law.
Tenants only have a responsibility under HSWA when work is being carried out on the property. They must take reasonable care for their own and others' health and safety, and follow any reasonable instructions given by the PCBU doing the work (eg plumber or electrician).
Who is responsible for maintaining my property?
Landlords need to provide and maintain their rental properties in a reasonable state of repair. This means making sure they’re safe and healthy to live in.
Who is responsible for maintaining the outside of the house?
The landlord is usually responsible for outside cleaning and maintenance tasks such as house-washing and gutter cleaning. The tenant can do outdoor cleaning tasks like window cleaning (if the windows are easily accessible, not apartment buildings or multi-level houses) as part of their responsibility to keep the property reasonably clean and tidy.
Who is responsible for lawns & gardens?
Tenants must keep the property reasonably clean and tidy. This includes mowing the lawns and weeding the gardens (unless the landlord has agreed to do this in the tenancy agreement).
If a tenant wants to remove or prune a tree, shrub or hedge on the property, they should first get the landlord’s written consent. The tenant would then be responsible for clearing away the cuttings.
Tenants must also leave the property reasonably clean and tidy at the end of the tenancy.
Landlords are usually responsible for pruning and maintaining trees, shrubs and hedges, and removing the cuttings.
This is because some trees and shrubs may require special care, skill or knowledge to properly maintain them, which a tenant may not have. Other trees or shrubs may be protected species, or specimens of local or historical interest that can’t be removed.
This will avoid the risk of a tenant causing damage, particularly where those trees etc. are well established and valuable.
The landlord is also responsible for ensuring any trees are safe. Trees, shrubs or hedges that are dangerous (damaged by a storm or growing towards electrical lines) must be fixed by the landlord.
Who is responsible for cleaning the chimney?
Cleaning the chimney is the landlord’s responsibility. The tenant remains responsible for cleaning the ashes from the hearth. The landlord may wish to have the chimney swept and checked at least annually to make sure it’s safe. (The landlord’s insurance policy for the property will often not cover the property if the chimney is not swept at least annually).
What is fair wear & tear?
Fair wear and tear refers to the gradual deterioration of things that are used regularly in a property when people live in it.
A tenant is not responsible for normal fair wear and tear to the property or any chattels provided by the landlord when they use them normally. The tenant is responsible for any intentional or careless damage.
An example of this would be where a stove element wears out from normal cooking. This is fair wear and tear. However, if the stove was being used to heat the kitchen and stopped working properly, this would not be considered normal use.
Examples of what is usually considered fair wear and tear are:
- flooring getting worn
- taps and washers in the kitchen, bathroom or laundry wearing out or leaking
Examples of what is not normally considered fair wear and tear are:
- burn marks or drink stains on the carpet
- drawing on wallpaper
Who is responsible for damage?
Tenants need to tell the landlord if they know of any damage or need for repairs. If the tenant does not notify the landlord as soon as possible the landlord may be able to claim some of the costs of repairing the damage from the tenant if it gets worse.
If a landlord or their property manager damages a tenant’s goods, the tenant can ask them to repair those goods, or to pay the cost of replacement or repair.
If a tenant (or their invited guests) intentionally damages the landlord’s property, the tenant must tell the landlord. The landlord can ask the tenant to repair the damage, or to pay the cost of replacement or repair.
If damage is caused by carelessness and the damage is covered by the landlord’s insurance, the tenant will not be liable for the cost of repairs, unless it was the result of an imprisonable offence.
The Tenancy Tribunal has issued a practice note with effect from 1 August 2016 which has further detailed information about tenant liability for damages and landlords insurance. The practice note states that:
- Regardless of whether the landlord has insurance, tenants are not liable for damage caused by fire, flood, explosion, lightning, storm, earthquake or volcanic activity.
- Exceptions to this are if the damage was caused intentionally, was the result of an imprisonable offence or if the tenant (or their invited guest) caused the insurance moneys that would have been payable to the landlord to be irrecoverable.
- Fire, flood or explosion are not required to be catastrophic natural events.
- The landlord is also responsible for the insurance excess costs and can not pass these costs on to their tenants.