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.
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.
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.
Winter sees temperatures dropping all over the country, and many of us will turn on the heatpump, light the fire, or look for alternative heat sources to heat our home. New Zealand homes have a history of being cold with poor insulation, single-glazing, and inefficient heat sources. Unfortunately cold homes create all sorts of problems, not the least being health problems associated with dampness and cold air.
Warmer, drier homes provide real advantages, besides the obvious health benefits, you will also have happy healthy tenants who are more likely to become long term renters.
In 2016 the government introduced new standards for insulating rental properties and landlords had until July 1st of this year to ensure their rental properties have floor and ceiling insulation where possible.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) estimated up to 100,000 properties did not meet the standards. Landlords now face a $4000 fine if their properties are not properly insulated.
Despite shortages and insulation providers struggling to meet demand, MBIE has said it would not be granting extensions.
Landlords are required to install ceiling and underfloor insulation wherever they can. Wall insulation is not compulsory under the new rules.
The Tenancy Tribunal has set different standards of insulation depending on where in the country the property is. Zones 1 and 2 encapsulate the majority of the North Island (including Tauranga) and require minimum “R-values” – a heat resistant flow measure – of 2.9 for ceilings and 1.3 for underfloor insulation.
Tenants who want their homes insulated or believe the current insulation isn’t up to standard are encouraged to approach us in the first instance or you can contact the Tenancy Tribunal for clarity around the new standards.
Some other basic steps you can take include providing thermal drapes, blocking drafts under doors and around windows, wrapping hot water cylinders, replacing old carpet with a quality underlay and carpet, and installing a heat pump or other energy-efficient heat source in the living area. Many landlords are also investing in heat panels for hallways and bedrooms of cold homes, these take the chill out of the air and can be run by a timer.
Please call us if you have any questions regarding the new standards and your responsibility as a landlord and/or how you can make your property a healthier home.
Ever wondered why some people find it easier to get a rental property than others? At Connect Realty we pride ourselves on managing quality properties across Tauranga, Papamoa, and Mt Maunganui, and having quality tenants in them. That means we vet all potential tenants to make sure we find the right candidate for the homes we manage.
If you are finding it difficult to get accepted by rental agencies or keep missing out on the best homes available, then we have some top tips that may just help.
Property Managers and landlords like to see references. Make sure you choose referees who are in respected positions (e.g. landlord, employer, community group leader). Friends or family, no matter how much they love you, do not make good referees. We recommend getting a reference every time you vacate a home and keep these for each new landlord or property manager to see. Provide contact details and make sure they know they may be called.
Having a pet means you will be limited in which properties you can rent. If you don’t have them already then we recommend not getting a pet as it makes it very hard to get a property. The main reasons are potential damage from accidents inside, pet fur and/or hair in carpet and mess they can cause around the outside of a property. Even if your current landlord is ok with pets, your next one may not be so keen.
We recommend that you consider quitting. There are few landlords or property managers who are happy to place tenants in a home when they are smokers. Smoking inside properties causes lots of problems, especially smell. There are free online quit programmes that can help you, and local support groups as well. Some apartment complexes also ban smoking from balconies and decks.
Appearance & Attitude
The saying goes you can tell a lot about a person by the way they present themselves. If you want to impress property managers or landlords then we recommend you turn up on time, dress nicely, and be honest. Property managers and landlords are busy people too, they don’t want to wait around for applicants who don’t show the courtesy of showing up on time.
At Connect Realty we strive to be open and honest to all applicants and tenants, and if we suspect you are not telling the truth we will not rent to you. So be open and honest during the application process. Provide all the information you are asked for. The more thorough you are, the more seriously your application will be considered.
We also recommend that you ask questions. The rental relationship has to work two ways. You need to be able to communicate with the landlord, and they with you. If you ask questions you will both be able to better assess how that relationship might go.
If you’re looking for a rental property in Tauranga, Mount Maunganui or Papamoa then have a look through our properties for rent tab on our website – https://www.connectrealty.co.nz/properties-for-rent. If you see a property you are interested in viewing please phone for the address. We will walk you through our application process from there.
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