Property Rental: Repairs and damages

If something gets damaged in a rental property or needs repairing, it’s important to know who’s responsible for fixing and paying for the problem.

Tenants must tell the landlord straight away if they are aware that something needs to be repaired or maintained, no matter how it happened or who caused the damage.  

An important point to note, the tenant is not responsible for repairs or damage arising from burglaries, natural events (such as storms, floods, and earthquakes), or fair wear and tear.

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.

Intentional damage

If a tenant (or their invited guests) intentionally damage 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.

Careless damage

On 27 August 2019, new legislation took effect, which will affect tenants’ liability for damage.

If tenants or their guests carelessly damage a rental property, they are liable for the cost of the damage up to four weeks’ rent or the landlord’s insurance excess (if applicable), whichever is lower.

Tenants on income-related rents will be liable for careless damage up to four weeks’ market rent or the insurance excess (if applicable), whichever is lower.

Landlords can’t ask for or accept more than that limit.

Insurance companies can’t chase tenants on the landlord’s behalf for the cost of repairs for careless damage.

If the landlord and tenant can’t agree who should pay, either can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal.

If any damage occurs, it is for the landlord to prove that the damage is not fair wear and tear. Following this, the tenant must prove that the damage was careless (and not intentional). You should support your application by including copies of:

  • relevant insurance policies
  • photos of the damage
  • receipts or quotes for repair

If the state of disrepair is likely to cause injury to people or property, a tenant can have repair work done and ask the landlord to pay them for it. A landlord must also pay the tenant back for any urgent repair work the tenant had to have done, as long as the tenant made reasonable attempts to let the landlord know first.

What About Fair Wear and 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.

For more information please call our office to discuss with our team or visit Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019

Visiting Tauranga This Summer?

get-a-fresh-start

Hopefully this summer you will be able to visit the beautiful city of Tauranga, and our stunning coastal communities at Mount Maunganui and Papamoa. While you are here, make sure you check out the local papers for some of the amazing job opportunities. Besides having a similar salary base to larger cities, Tauranga has lots of job variety, including senior management positions, and plenty of new business opportunities.

When you are here you will see that this fantastic region has much to offer its residents. An awesome climate which means you can grow nearly every fruit and vegetable available in New Zealand, a huge selection of homes from new townhouses to larger character homes, stunning beaches only a few minutes’ walk or drive away, shopping malls, a fantastic pool complex, a great arts and cultural scene and more.

So take the time to look around. If you’re serious about moving here, we can show you some of the fantastic houses we have available for rent. If you are retiring and/or looking to invest in an investment property, we can give you plenty of local property management advice about best areas to buy and the types of rental return you can expect for you house.

We are confident you will love our city, and we think you may decide to stay!

Proposed changes to NZ Residential Tenancies Act

Proposed changes to NZ Residential Tenancies Act blog

The long-awaited overhaul of tenancy laws was announced on Sunday.  Some of the key proposed changes to NZ Residential Tenancies Act include:

  • double the threshold for damages claims at the Tenancy Tribunal,
  • renters can do more to change properties,
  • anonymised Tenancy Tribunal rulings,
  • an end to no-cause evictions,
  • a ban on rental bidding.
  • limiting rent rises to once-yearly, up from six months.

The new laws, expected to be passed by Parliament in the new year, will automatically now assume that a ‘periodic tenancy’ will begin at the end of a fixed term lease. So if a lease ends after 12 months, it is assumed that the tenant will stay on a “periodic” (open-ended) tenancy from there on in, without needing to sign another fixed term agreement. Landlords can ask tenants to go onto a new fixed-term agreement, but the tenant has to agree.

Landlords will not be able to end a periodic agreement except for specific reasons such as selling the house, doing major renovations, three complaints of anti-social behaviour or more than three instances of rent being paid more than five days late over a 90 day period.

Renters who enter into a dispute with landlords and are successful in defending a claim or having their rights upheld, will now have their identities removed from tenancy tribunal decisions, if they choose, before the determinations are given. This is designed to protect tenants from being later penalised for being difficult by a potential future landlord. The same anonymised option will apply to landlords 

Landlords who do not comply with the Residential Tenancy Act will now be liable for payouts from the Tenancy Tribunal of up to $100,000 up from $50,000. Previously damages over $50,0000 had to go to the district court. The regulator, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment will also be able to make a single application against a landlord over a number of properties.

Landlords will not be able to able to start a bidding process for new rentals, however, if prospective tenants want to offer above the asking price, they will still be allowed to initiate a higher rent offer, which the landlord will be allowed to accept.

Landlords will also have to provide records proving that their homes meet healthy homes standards if the tenant requests them.

Landlords will also not be able to refuse requests for small changes to fittings that tenants wish to make that can be easily removed at the end of a tenancy. These could include fittings as a baby gates, baby proofing, curtains and installing dishwashers and washing machines.

If a tenancy is ended for a valid reason, such as a landlord selling a house, the landlord will now need to provide 63 days of notice – up from 42.

We will continue with updates about these changes as more information comes to hand.  If you have any questions please call our office to discuss.

Rental Properties Needed

Connect Realty Property Managers

Summer is on our doorstep and once again the Bay is ready for a busy time. We have already seen the arrival of cruise ships this month, and these will continue to grace our shores for the summer. This means lots of extra holidaymakers out and about enjoying our stunning region.

Besides holidaymakers, the Bay is still attracting lots of new residents to our region.  With a gorgeous climate, stunning white-sand beaches, and all the buzz you find in a city, who wouldn’t want to live here.

As a result of the continued influx of new couples and families, rental properties are still in very short supply.  In most cases, we are getting several applications as soon as they are placed on the internet, and some do not even get to the internet as we have tenants on our books waiting.  So please, if you do know someone wanting to rent out their homes send them our way.

We are looking for furnished or unfurnished houses, units and apartments in the Tauranga, Papamoa and Mount areas.

We will strive to provide a property management service of unbeatable quality and superior service so much so, we offer 100% money back guarantee after the first 3 months of management.

  • We solely specialise in property management
  • We are a boutique agency and offer personal service
  • Over 30 years of local knowledge of the area
  • Free appraisals and advice on where and what to buy
  • Advertising properties on 4 websites exposing it to many prospective tenants
  • Where necessary we feature properties on trade me to attract more tenants at no extra cost
  • Strong tenant selection credit and reference checking of tenants.
  • A team of dedicated contractors working for us at competitive rates for any maintenance issues or improvements.
  • Project management of any maintenance and refurbishment on a tenants behalf
  • Video and photos on all ingoing reports
  • 3 Monthly inspections with reports
  • You will be working with an experienced owner-operated with a vested interest to see the business grow and make sure clients are happy with our service

So call our team today to find our more.

Spring Property Maintenance

Swimming Pool

With the arrival and spring and summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to get your investment property looking its best, including lawns and gardens and any necessary repair work to outside areas. Property maintenance is not just about cleaning up, it is also time to be prudent about ensuring your investment property is meeting all the necessary safety standards according to the building code and Council regulations – particularly in relation to fencing around pools, and laws about pergolas and decks.

A recent article in the local paper stated that Water Safety New Zealand was disappointed by current attitudes towards fencing compliance, with many pool owners failing standards because they were more concerned with the look of their backyard. The article said:

“The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act is clear – all private outdoor pools must be fenced unless the walls of the pool are more than 1.2m above the ground, or the maximum depth is 400mm or less.

The fence must surround the area immediately around the pool only. Gates should close and latch automatically.

Older swimming pools are also required to adhere to the current standards…the most common reasons pool fences failed compliance were because they were not high enough, had gaps or gates that were not self-latching.”

The purpose of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act is to prevent young children from drowning, something seen as crucial even if you do not have children at your home.

Another area where you need to be prudent is building consents.  As a result of the Christchurch earthquake, new building codes were introduced for decks, pergolas and other additions to your property. These new standards aim to protect residents and the public from ‘unsafe’ building practices. For your Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Papamoa property please see the Tauranga City Council guidelines which outline when a consent is needed.

If you have any questions relating to this blog please feel free to phone on 0800 333 221, as your Property Managers we are more than happy to give advice or put you in contact with the correct agency.