What rent am I likely to achieve and how long does it take to secure a tenant?
We will provide an appraisal to determine a ‘market rent’ for your property. The average timeframe to secure tenants is 14-28 days. When tenants vacate they are required to give a minimum of 21 days notice and we begin marketing for new tenants immediately. The majority of properties we manage have new tenants secured before existing tenants have vacated.
How often do you carry out rent reviews and can I be consulted?
The Residential Tenancies Act allows for rents to be increased every 6 months as long as the tenancy agreement provides for an increase. We carry out property rent reviews on all properties on most inspections as well as on the 6 month anniversary of the date of the agreement or the last increase.
Clients can have input in to rent reviews at your request and can be notified of recommended increases in advance of any rent increases as the reviews are carried out.
Can you take over existing properties with existing tenants currently managed by other individuals or professionals?
Yes. Connect Realty often takes over the management of properties already being managed by private individuals and other agents. We will arrange the entire transition and keep you informed. We will endeavour to inspect all new properties within the first two weeks of management in order to asses any outstanding maintenance issues and carry out rent reviews to ensure that the most competitive market rents are being obtained.
Renovations, repairs and maintenance — should I spend $$$$$$?
Connect Realty uses a variety of contractors who are reliable, consistent, and offer value for money. Quotes can be obtained for most maintenance. Clients can also stipulate a maintenance spending limit or choose to have no maintenance carried out without their approval. In this case clients will be contacted for all maintenance issues.
The types of renovations, repairs and maintenance that should be carried out can generally be classified in to urgent, short term and long term maintenance. Generally urgent and short term issues are those day to days issues which are essential for health and safety and to comply with provisions of the residential tenancies Act.
Long term issues are issues that are not urgent and clients can address and plan for, at some stage down the line, more often than not between tenancies. These issues are generally communicated to clients after inspections. Addressing these issues makes the property more tenantable and often improves the likely weekly rental. These might include replacing vinyl and carpet which is damaged and looks unsightly, repainting in attractive colours or patching a wall or room.
Our flexible property management service allows clients to have an agreement with us in advance with regards to who organises what maintenance when it is necessary. This means you will always know where you stand and you will not have unnecessary costs that you were unaware of. Communication is the key.
Interior décor which optimises rent and saves $$$$$: paint, curtains, carpet — what materials are best?
Paint: If you want to own or do own multiple properties we suggest to reduce costs, you use the same colour paint on all your properties, both inside and out. This saves the hassle of keeping and looking up records for each property about what colour and paint you have used. Also, it allows your repairs to be cost effective, since you can paint just one wall, if that’s all that’s needed. A colour like cream also does not date like some colours do, and it is not offensive to anyone. Also it looks good with a wide variety of furnishings, and can often make a small space seem larger, and a dark space seem lighter.
Curtains: Choose neutral colour curtains also as these won’t clash with a tenant’s possessions, and neutrals tend to set rooms off better. Choose a reasonable quality thermal lined fabric, or pre-made drapes which tend to be cost effective. Note that most of these can not be easily machine washed. Supplying expensive drapes is not a guarantee of higher rents or longer lasting quality. Net curtains are important to tenants for privacy and security reasons, especially in bedrooms.
Carpet: Choose a darker coloured carpet for rental properties, as experience has shown that the pale colours show marks more, and are harder to clean over the long term. The right carpet can turn a little used rumpus room into a well utilised extra bedroom, improving the rental return at the same time.
Do you have your own Tenancy Agreement?
Yes. Connect Realty’s Tenancy Agreement is the result of many years research into what works best for the landlord. We’ve kept it as straight forward as possible, so it’s easy to understand for both parties. Some important clauses that are standard are “no animals without landlords permission”, “tenants are to have the carpets commercially cleaned when their tenancy expires”, and “specified limits on the numbers of occupants”. These unique property management clauses are what we can advise you on.
Connect Realty hand picks our tenants. All prospective tenants must make an application on the form we provide and undergo a comprehensive tenant selection process including but not limited to credit checks, landlord references, employment references and Tenancy Tribunal database checks. Photographic proof of identity is also required so we can be sure who we are renting the property to. This offers clients peace of mind as we work every day finding the right tenant for your property.
What type of tenancies do you offer?
As comprehensive property managers, we offer both Periodic and Fixed Term tenancies. Periodic tenancies have a start date and no end date and can be terminated by either party giving the appropriate notice. Fixed Term tenancies have a start date and a termination date and can not be terminated prior to the termination date unless there is an agreement reached between both parties. Both types of agreements have different advantages. Talk to your property manager for further details.
How much bond do you take and what happens to it?
We secure four weeks rent as bond. The bond is receipted by us and lodged with the Department of Building and Housing as soon as it is paid by tenants.
When and how do I get paid my rental income?
All rent is payable weekly, fortnightly by the tenant into our Trust Account. Licensed Agents must hold all monies held on behalf of other people into such a Trust Account (Note: Not all property managers are licensed!).
At the end of each month we send you a statement accounting to you for the rent and management fees, along with any other disbursements. This can be sent electronically via email or in the post. Interim statements during the month can be sent at your request. You can also register for our online 24/7 statement access.
The rent is paid directly into your nominated bank account, bi monthly or monthly.
What do you do if the tenant gets behind in their rent or damages my property?
We have a zero rent arrears policy and rents are checked daily. If tenants miss payments we contact them to request any missed payments are remedied immediately. The appropriate legal written notices are served. If the tenant does not remedy the missed payment an application is made to the Tenancy Tribunal to recover the rent arrears. If necessary we apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a mediated order, or a termination of tenancy where appropriate. Your property manager will attend any required court hearings. The key to arrears management is systematic, timely and frequent monitoring of rent payments and also our comprehensive tenant selection screening.
Regular inspections enable us to identify how the tenant is caring for the property, if damages are present or repairs need completing. If we identify issues clients are always kept informed. Certain repairs may be needed to be carried out by the tenant at their cost (eg. if a window has been broken through carelessness) and other repairs may be the responsibility of the landlord (eg. window latches or door locks which have become loose over time with use). If a tenant vacates a property and damages are recorded we will hold the tenant responsible for the cost of making good the damage.
What records do you provide me with?
Monthly statement and interim statements if necessary. Every month at the close of the month, our property management services include a complete computerised statement which records all rents collected during the period, together with all disbursements, including any accounts paid on your behalf, (like rates, water, and any authorised repairs) plus the fees deducted.
It will also display the current tenants paid to date, the name of the tenant/s, and the property/ies. We can automatically send your accountant a copy.
Annual Statement: At the close of business for the year we send you an Annual Statement which summarises all the transactions of the financial year. We can automatically send your accountant a copy. We also have Landlords personal logins so they can see how much funds are in their account at any given time.
How frequently do you carry out inspections?
As your acting property management company we will complete an inspection at the beginning of a tenancy to record the details and condition of the property at that point in time prior to the tenants moving in. This is often called an “initial” or “ingoing” inspection. When tenants vacate we carry out another called a “vacancy inspection” to again record the details and condition of the property at that point in time so any issues can be identified and accounted for. These inspections are not charged for and are part of your property management service included in your management fees. If we identify any issues at a vacancy inspection we will negotiate with the tenant to hold them responsible for any damage.
During the tenancies we also complete routine maintenance inspections. We recommend that rental properties are inspected either quarterly (especially newer properties) or at least three monthly, as these inspections can help keep maintenance costs down by dealing more regularly with any items that may require the tenant to remedy (e.g. stains on the carpets, and other general cleaning issues). Clients can also attend inspections or request no inspections if they like, although we would advise against no inspections. Some insurance companies require a certain number of inspections so please check your policy to ensure that we assist you to meet any obligations.
What do you do when tenants move out and there are damages?
If damages are identified then owners are informed ASAP. Sometimes the bond needs to be retained where the tenant has not left the property in a satisfactory condition or where there is damage which needs remedying. No bonds are ever refunded unless we are completely satisfied that all rents and water bills are paid up to date and any damages if any are accounted for. It is an exception rather than a rule when bonds do not cover any damages and in this case urgent applications are made through the Tenancy Tribunal to have tenants made responsible for reimbursing us for any damages. Our property management service will take care of this.
What is mediation and why do you use it?
Mediation is a service offered by Tenancy Services. We use mediation (as opposed to the Tribunal) when we believe there is an opportunity to get a quicker response and we believe its possible for a more positive outcome from liaising with the tenant directly. When agreements are made between us and tenants at mediation they will be sealed by the courts and enforceable by law. If we undertake mediation on your behalf as your property management company, then you will always be informed of the outcome.
What is the Tenancy Tribunal and when do you use it?
The Tenancy Tribunal is the power that enforces the Residential Tenancies Act. If there is a dispute between landlords and tenants either party may apply to the Tribunal for a hearing. They will hand down a legal ruling on any dispute in accordance with The Residential Tenancies Act. A Tribunal Order is final and must be adhered to. However, sometimes bailiffs or debt collectors are needed to enforce a Tribunal order.
We use the Tribunal when issues can’t easily be mediated, and this is generally when they are of a more serious nature, such as a tenant will not pay rent despite frequent communication, damages are identified, tenants are causing problems in the neighbourhood or if the tenant disappears and we need to get occupancy. There are many other cases where it may be applicable for us as property management company to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal on your behalf and this will be carried out by well trained staff who have experience in legal representation and mediation. As always clients are kept informed every step of the way.
How do you keep my property well maintained?
Also see “How frequently do you carry out inspections”. In addition to regular inspections if we are in the area, we often drive by to see the general condition of the exterior, as this gives us an idea of what might be happening on the inside! We often form good relationships with neighbours who also assist us in keeping an eye on properties.
We use a variety of reliable contractors who provide a quality service if necessary at a competitive price. If we are not satisfied that a tenant is keeping a property in an acceptable condition then the owner will be notified and we will take steps via the Tenancy Tribunal to terminate a tenancy and secure a new tenant who will look after the property. The key is suitable tenant selection and ongoing property inspections to help ensure the tenant is looking after the property. This ensures we reduce the risk of any problems.
What happens when a tenant gives notice?
On a Periodic Tenancy a tenant is required to give at least 21 days notice in writing to vacate a property. The termination date will be 21 days from the date it is received by Connect Realty.
We enter this information in our system and we send the tenant a letter confirming all details. As property managers, we give them advice and instructions about what condition to leave the property in to ensure their maximum bond is returned by sending them a vacate pack. We also advise you of the vacating tenant’s termination date as soon as a notice is received.
It is policy to have the tenant maintain rent payments right up until the actual termination date, so that the full bond is maintained, in case of damage. We do not allow for tenants to stop paying rent and use a bond for final rent payments.
If we do not receive instructions from owners not to re-let properties we will start to market for new tenants as soon as the current tenants have given notice. This allows us to reduce potential vacancies between tenancies. We do not wait until tenants have vacated before we begin to market them. Rent reviews are undertaken ASAP and properties marketed at new updated market rents. Property management involves effectively managing all of these factors to maximise your occupancy rate.
What happens if I want to move back into the property or sell it?
On a Periodic tenancy (not a fixed term) if you or a family member wants the use of your property, or you wish to sell it, you must advise the tenants in writing giving them 42 days notice, plus an additional four days for postage. This offers flexibility for our clients.
On a Fixed Term tenancy, the tenant has the right to occupy until the stated term ends. You may sell the property at any time, “subject to the existing tenancy”, providing you give the required notice. When selling, you are obliged to notify the tenant in writing that the property is on the market. You will also need to give the tenant “reasonable notice” when you wish to have buyers inspect
How do you find a tenant and who pays to advertise my property for rent?
Targeting Tenants. From years of providing property management services to landlords, we think the most effective way to locate tenants is through internet web advertising, and our existing tenant databases. As a proactive property management firm, we always have a register of prospective tenants who are updated regularly if properties become available that meet their criteria. We also advertise of 4 websites.
Once application forms are received we carry out a comprehensive tenant selection process to ensure they meet our criteria. Advertising your property For Rent. This service is included free of charge for all properties under management.
Our clients DO NOT pay for any advertising of their properties unless a specific circumstance allows for it.
Can I arrange my own maintenance?
Yes. Connect Realty provides a customised property management service, which means you can choose the service you want. You can do it yourself, or organise a tradesman that you know to address any issues.
Should I rent my property furnished or unfurnished?
We will cater for your requirements whether it be furnished or unfurnished. However, often furnished properties in the suburbs have less demand then unfurnished properties. This is because most long term tenants have their own possessions which they like to have around them. Mount Maunganui apartments generally have stronger demand as furnished properties. It is advisable to check with your property manager, to see what the actual tenant demand is like in the current climate.
If you have or know someone that has an empty rental
CALL US for a free rental appraisal
Chris Jenkins 027 443 6152
Nicky Ryan 021 022 06853