Government Set To Amend The Residential Tenancy Act

Dr Nick Smith photo

Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith has announced that the Government is considering changes to the Residential Tenancy Act over when property damage costs can be reclaimed from tenants.

Dr Smith was quoted as saying “This review has been prompted by recent court decisions and Tenancy Tribunal rulings, which have sparked confusion over how the Residential Tenancy Act (1986) and the Property Law Act (2007) interact. This is resulting in uncertainty for landlords and tenants, and is affecting the effective functioning of the Tenancy Tribunal.”

This announcement follows pressure from the NZ Property Investors Federation, which has argued the current law is making it nearly impossible for landlords to claim costs for accidental damage caused by tenants.

In a recent decision the Tenancy Tribunal ruled a woman should pay nearly $1000 to their landlord for damage to carpets and curtains after she left five cats shut in a room in her Wellington rental. The NZ Property Investors Federation has praised the decision, saying “it is a positive move in the aftermath of the Holler and Rouse v Osaki case, in which the Court of Appeal ruled in April a tenant did not have to pay for damage caused after leaving a pot of oil on the stove which started a fire.”

Dr Smith said the “The issue is tenant damage to a property through carelessness or negligence. The latest court rulings mean landlords cannot recover the costs of this damage where they have insurance, including for their costs such as the excess. The problem with this approach is that it reduces the incentive for tenants to take good care of the property they rent. It also reduces the landlord’s incentive to have insurance as it lessens tenants’ responsibilities.

“My concern about this new interpretation is that it will add to the overall costs of the residential sector, driving up insurance costs and rents. However, we do not wish to return to the situation where tenants may be sued by their landlord’s insurance company for hundreds of thousands of dollars, such as with an accidental house fire.

“The proposal I am considering is that tenants would be liable for damage caused by carelessness or negligence up to the value of their landlord’s insurance excess but not exceeding four weeks’ rent, which is aligned with the standard tenancy bond. A different amount could be mutually agreed if specifically provided for in the tenancy agreement and would enable the tenant, if they wished, to take out their own insurance.

“The tenant would remain fully liable for damage caused intentionally or caused by a criminal act, with no limitation. The landlord would remain liable for fair wear and tear, and any damage caused to the property by an event beyond the tenant’s control, such as a storm or an earthquake.”

Dr Smith has asked the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to do targeted consultation with tenant and landlord organisations, and the insurance sector, on possible changes to the Act.

“New Zealand has 450,000 tenanted properties, and both tenants and landlords need certainty about their rights and responsibilities. I am looking for a practical solution that will work for both tenants and landlords.”

Property managers Connect Realty give tips for helping kids adjust to new home

5 Tips for Helping Kids Adjust To A New Home

Property managers Connect Realty give tips for helping kids adjust to new home

Papamoa is proving to be a very popular location for families, with people shifting there from all over the North Island to enjoy the warm climate, the beaches, and the lifestyle this area offers. Over the last 10 years especially there has been a huge increase in subdivisions, commercial development and of course population. This has resulted in new schools, new shops, new sports clubs and a whole new way of life for those families arriving in the district.

But relocating your family is not always a straight forward process.  The adjustment is often stressful for all those involved, especially children.  Children not only have to say goodbye to their old house, school and friends, but they also have to meet new teachers, make new friends and adjust to a new bedroom and a new house.

We deal with many families through our Papamoa Property Management service, many who are new to the Bay of Plenty region.  To help navigate the moving process with children we provide the following tips:

 

1.Talk To Your Children About The Move & Stay Positive

Make sure you are open with communication.  Listen to any fears or concerns your children may have and come up with solutions to ease any anxiety. Also make sure you speak positively about the transition.  If you act excited about the new adventure then hopefully your children will too.

 

  1. Make Your New House Feel Like Home

Children are creatures of comfort, so having some of your their favourite things around the house or in their room will help them feel comfortable in their new surroundings. This could be a poster on their wall, a favourite stuffed animal or a photo of their old friends.

 

  1. Be a Tourist In Your New Area

Once you arrive take your children to local attractions, like the Papamoa Plaza, Thursday Night Market, a walk along Papamoa beach. Show them what makes their new home so appealing.

 

  1. Help Build Your Children’s Social Network

We encourage families to get involved with local sports, clubs and activities.  This will not only help your children make new friends in the neighbourhood and at school, but will also introduce you to new families in your area.

 

  1. Be Patient And Understanding

Lastly, be patient with your children.  Be sure to give them time to adjust to their new home and their new friends. They may not adjust as quickly as you, often it can take a few months to settle in and feel at home with a new area, but it will eventually happen.

 

To learn more about Papamoa and other Bay of Plenty districts, such as Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, call us at Connect Realty.  We offer investment property and rental property advice for these areas  and property management services.

Best candidate for a rental property image for connect realty property managers blog

How To Be The Best Applicant For A Rental Property

Best candidate for a rental property image for connect realty property managers blog

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.

Referees

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.

Pets

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.

Smokers

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 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.