Merry Christmas New Zealand landlords

Posted on Monday, December 19 2011

Merry Christmas: New Zealand Property Management Tips

While you are away on holiday, you are still a landlord. The rent still has to be received and urgent repairs made during the Christmas New Year period. Hopefully these holiday smart tips will help keep you on top of everything while you are soaking up the sun and enjoying a well-deserved break.

Rent arrears
Rent arrears are a common problem during this time of the year. Holiday expenses can mount up very quickly not just for us but also for our tenants. Addressing the arrears promptly will ensure that you are not out of pocket during this tricky time of the year.

1. Before you head off anywhere, exchange holiday contact details with your tenants. Find out their best contact phone numbers, addresses and emails. You may also want to find out whether they will have Internet access just in case you need to contact them by email.
2. Take a copy of your rent ledger with you on holiday and continue updating it on the days the rents fall due.
3. Take a template 14 days rent arrear notice with you and issue it to your tenant as soon as the rent has fallen behind.
4. Have the web link to the Tenancy Tribunal online application page and a credit card handy so that you can file a Tribunal application for rent arrears in respect of the 14 days notice you issued above. Applying for a hearing promptly will get you in the queue sooner than those who wait until they return from their holidays to deal with tenancy problems. The current Tribunal wait time is 4-6 weeks. This estimate is only going to get longer on the 16th of January when most people return from their holidays. You are always able to withdraw the application if your tenant remedies the arrear.
5. Make sure you have an electronic copy of your tenancy agreement with you and also your bond number as you will need these documents when making a Tribunal application.

Repairs
Just as you would expect your tenant to continue paying rent, your tenant will expect you to respond to their repair needs promptly. With the traditional December/January shut down, make sure you stay organised even when you are on holiday.

1. Give your tenants your various holiday contact details in case urgent repairs are needed. Let them know how often you will be checking your messages so they know when to expect a response from you.
2. Take a list of tradesmen who work through the Christmas New Years period, their contact details and holiday prices with you so you can order work remotely.
3. Prioritise urgent repairs from those that can wait until you return from your holiday. Scotney Williams, says that there is no hard and fast rule as to what is or is not an urgent repair. ‘Clearly, the things that fall into the category of “urgent repair” would be blocked sewage line, septic tanks, outfall pipes and failed water cylinders. These things should be fixed within 24 hours if possible. A broken stove should be fixed promptly within a matter of two to four days as most people have a barbeque they can use to get by. Other repairs that will not have a serious impact on your tenant’s ability to enjoy the premises should be done within a reasonable period of time.’

Some useful tools to help you stay organised
1. If you are not inclined to holiday with your laptop, consider storing the documents above in a USB drive or use one of the many online file storage facilities such as Google Doc, Dropbox and Evernote.
2. There is no excuse not to check rent payments promptly. Use the 3G technology on your smart phone. Most banks now have downloadable apps for you to check your bank statement on the go. Most holiday destinations also have easy Internet access at a small fee. If you are uncomfortable checking your bank statements using a public portal, you can always ring your bank’s 0800 number and ask them to verbally confirm the deposits into your account.

Sarina Yang
Tenancy Practice Service
www.tenancypractice.co.nz
www.tpscreditcontrol.co.nz

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Expert's Bio

Craeg Williams

The Tenancy Practice Service specialise in advice, legal documentation, training and debt collection relating to residential tenancies. 093040853 craeg@tenancypractice.co.nz

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