Landlords

FAQ’s

Why choose Ray White?
We understand the many potential risks involved when it comes to managing a property and we have ongoing access to the most up to date information on all legislative changes and best-practice steps. Ray White property managers also have on-call access to tenancy related legal advice and have a thorough understanding of the Residential Tenancies Act.

The entire group benefits from a dedicated resource through our national ‘Head of Property Management’. This role is solely involved with ensuring all staff receive the best quality information and updates in all areas of property management to ensure landlords are dealing with the most professional and well-educated property managers in the industry. There are frequent training courses offered for up-skilling in all areas of property management.

How do you market your managed rental properties?
We cover all the marketing costs relating to our managed properties. This includes listing the property on Trademe.co.nz, realestate.co.nz, raywhite.com and assetrentals.co.nz. We will upgrade the listing on Trademe if we feel that the property needs further promotion. A ‘for rent’ sign will be erected if appropriate and the property will be promoted on Facebook and directly from the office.

Do you run open homes when seeking tenants or do you individually show each prospective tenant the property, I am guessing a bit of both?
You are correct – the answer is both, it depends on the level of demand and the individual property circumstances e.g. is the property currently tenanted therefore requiring access permission? Ultimately, we will do whatever we can to secure the best tenant as quickly as possible to minimise any vacancy periods.

How do we source tenants, what is our vetting process?
The process involves meeting all prospective tenants and preparing a detailed application form, then conducting credit and background checks on any submitted. We can access databases which allow us to see if tenants have been known to police and why, if they have been to tribunal and why, if they have defaulted, been bankrupted or have any previous or current defaults on their name. Further to this, we complete reference calls by speaking with the applicants current landlord or property manager, current and previous employer and character references (family, friends and colleague etc). We also then do a background check to pick up any additional information that might be useful accessing their suitability as a tenant.

Together with these processes, our property managers have significant levels of experience and skill when it comes to selecting the right tenant and can also gauge a lot from the meeting at the initial viewing.

Do you have a minimum rental period, e.g. 6 months?
The minimum rental period for a ‘fixed term’ lease under the The Residential Tenancies Act is 90 days (you will also find that most insurance companies will require this minimum period also). Alternatively a periodic lease is an ongoing contract until one party gives the required notice. The lease offered on a property is dictated by the landlord’s own circumstances, however we usually recommend a fixed term lease as a way of ensuring stability for both landlord and tenant.

How do you handle bond received from the tenant?
We collect the maximum bond you are legally allowed to ask for from the tenants to ensure you have maximum cover (4 weeks of the weekly rent). We lodge this on your behalf to DBH and deal with the refund side of things at the end of the tenancy after a full final inspection to ensure the property has been returned as it was when handed over.

How do you conduct your property inspections, will it be customised to my property?
It is vital that we ensure the initial inspection in very thorough and agreed upon by both the property manager and the tenant. Our software creates a custom report specific to your property on which we make detailed notes and attach multiple photos showing the exact condition of every room in the property at the start of the tenancy. Both parties sign off the report and it is kept on file until the end of the tenancy as a safeguard if there are any disputes during the tenancy or at the final inspection

We carry out periodic inspections every 13 weeks (most insurance companies now require this so you will need to check your policy wording) starting 6 weeks into the tenancy. A detailed report is sent to the landlord advising if there are any maintenance requirements and we find it’s also a good time to check market rents and adjust if necessary (following RTA rules). If there are any issues with cleaning etc we will issue a 14 breach letter to the tenants and follow up with another inspection to ensure the problem has been resolved.

Does the rent collected go into a trust account?
Whilst there is no legal requirement for any property management office to use a trust account it is certainly best practice and something we defiantly do to ensure you can feel your money is safe and always available to you.

How do I get paid?
We pay our landlords twice per month (on the 1st and 15th of each month) any rent collected up to that date minus any fees or maintenance invoices. We can of course make a special payment of any monies sitting in your landlord account at any given time. We supply a remittance with the mid month payment and a full statement including any copies of invoices with the 1st of the month payment.

Is there still strong demand for properties in our area and if yes is it generally strong demand 12 months of the year or usually at certain times of the year?
We are pretty lucky in our core area to have a high demand for rental properties at most times during the year. Of course the beginning of the school year is always exceptionally busy but if your home is warm and situated close to schools and amenities then it will always be in high demand.

What are your fees and additional costs?
Our team will discuss our fees with each client after they have visited the property and discussed the service required. We will always be completely transparent with our fee structure before we take on a new management.

What if we don’t want uni students, is it a matter of simply stipulating this?
This is something that you can let your property manager know right from the start as ultimately the landlord makes the final decision as to who rents their property. We will, however, always provide you with our own professional opinion on all of those who may view and apply for your property, regardless of their background or current circumstances.

Meth – I’m sure our house isn’t affected but what is your process re P? Is it a standard process?
Our property managers have access to the most up to date information on methamphetamine and all that this includes and most recently we have been up-skilling all staff on the new NZS 8510 standards around methamphetamine testing and decontamination.

Ultimately, there is no law requiring an owner to test their property, however, for a large number of reasons we recommend a baseline test be done before any tenancy begins to ensure future liability can be placed on responsible parties should the worst case scenario type of situation occur. We will discuss the specifics of our recommended Meth policy with all our landlords so they can make an informed decision.

How do you make sure I can get the up to date market rate for my rental property?
We are very familiar with our local area and the rents that are being achieved. We also use the Tenancy Services website which outlines the market rents in the area, using data from bonds received over the last 3 month period. We report back to you after each property inspection regarding how we feel the rent is sitting in comparison with market rents for similar properties so you can stay informed and we can increase the rent if appropriate in accordance with the RTA.

Will you inform me if tenant is moving in or out?
Absolutely. If a tenant gives notice we will let you know immediately after getting it in writing as we need instructions from you on what you would like to do – find new tenants, sell, renovate, move in or have family or friend move in etc. There are a number of reasons that circumstances change so we also double check before re-renting your property. We also then take that opportunity to discuss the rent price etc. An excellent chance to keep up with the Auckland market and increase the rent.

Should I keep furnitures and appliances?
Appliances yes – ie oven, dishwasher, rangehood, heat pump etc. My personal opinion is to leave the property unfurnished in regards to fridge, couch, tv, bed etc – as you are opening yourself to more potential maintenance issues. It is the landlords responsibility to maintain chattels after fair wear and tear etc and this will also apply to anything left behind. So as an example if the TV stops working, you will then be required to provide the tenants with a new TV or have that one repaired (to mention again, only if fair wear and tear and not tenant damage). I can discuss this with you in further detail if you wish for clarity.

How do you make sure the house is free of illegal drugs?
We spend a good amount of time completing our periodic routine inspections and take note not only of the home itself but if we see anything illegal (depending on what we find and the amount) we would get the police involved, along with issuing the tenant with a 14 day breach notice, in preparation with an application to the tenancy tribunal for termination if necessary. We would check cupboards etc and look for signs of drug use (equipment along with certain colours on walls, smells etc). This is very rare but if it happens, we take immediate action as this is not tolerated. Neighbours will also report any strange behaviour to us and we cover illegal drugs in the tenancy agreement.

If the house is set on fire by tenant, what will you do?
If the tenants or neighbours haven’t already, first thing will be to call the fire services to get the blaze under control and ensure tenants safety. We will then need to get the police to complete a report (to ensure the fire was not lit on purpose). The next step is to contact your insurance company and start the process of fixing the damage. It depends on the level of damage as to the next few steps. Between us and the insurance company, we will take the necessary action to recoup the costs from the tenant if they were found guilty and go through the courts etc. Hopefully we never need to do down this road.

If something is broken at the tenant’s fault, what will you do?
As an example, if we find the waste disposal is not working, we will get our contracted plumber out to assess and fix the issue, our contractors always report back to us with the damage report findings. If they come back and find the waste disposal was not working due to foreign objects being down there, this will indicate tenant damage. We will then charge the tenant for this repair.

If something is broken by itself, what will you do?
I am assuming this will be due to wear and tear? This will fall under landlord responsibility. For example if the oven stops working, it is our responsibility to get a new working oven sorted or repaired as soon as possible for the tenant.

Can you work with tradespeople that I specify? If yes, will you charge commission regardless?
Yes we can work with your tradespeople as long we they have the appropriate qualifications, licenses and insurance. Yes you will be charged maintenance fees as we will still be organising the work, which a lot of the time is treated as project management. We manage the entire process, from sending a works order, getting quotes and approval, liaising appropriate times between the tenant and contractor, inspecting the work during and after completion and signing off on invoices.

Who should be responsible for the garden maintenance?
All our tenancy agreements clearly state who is responsible for the garden and lawn maintenance. We actually find it is better to include garden maintenance in the rental amount to ensure the gardens are maintained regularly and lawn mowing done in a timely manner. This does vary on a case by case basis. Any hedges and large trees are the responsibility of the landlord to maintain (which we have contractors for). We always check the garden maintenance is up to date at our regular inspections.

How should I deal with power, water, council and insurance?
We will happily look after any bills related to your property. The easiest way is to have them redirected to us so there’s not need for you to forward any on to us. The most complicated bill is now the water which needs to be split between the landlord (fixed charge) and the tenant (usage charge). We pay the entire bill on your behalf and then invoice the tenant for there portion. The power and phone bills are in the tenants name and will be their responsibility. We do help them to get the utilities organised at the beginning of the tenancy as part of our service and to ensure they are looked after.

Briefly, how do you deal with landlord and tenant dispute?
We act as middle man and will try to mediate any disputes before they need to go to tribunal as this can be a time consuming and costly exercise, in some cases it can take 6-8 weeks to even get a hearing date. We do from time to time need to go down this path and will take care of the entire process utilising our legal team to ensure the best possible outcome. Experience has taught us that a robust tenant and landlord induction process, where everybody understands their legal responsibilities is the best way to avoid any disputes in the first place.

How do you make sure previous tenants won’t have access to the property?
We take a photo copy of all keys given to the tenant at the time of moving in, once they vacate we require all those keys back (plus copies made). If keys are not returned for any reason after they vacate, we organise a locksmith to change all locks, this is charged to the exiting tenant. We have not had any issues around a previous tenant returning keys and causing issues.

Is there anything I need to know about the rental property insulation regulations?
Yes, at this point in time, we legally need to disclose within our tenancy agreement what the level of insulation is. It doesn’t matter what the level of insulation is, we just need to have this outlined in the agreement. If you don’t know, we can have a company access and identify the current level for us and quote what needs to be done to bring it up to standard. By July 2019 all landlords will need to have their houses up to the government standard. We encourage landlords to get on top of this sooner rather than later as companies will become very busy with insulation closer to July 2019.

What is the process for me to terminate my contract with you?
We require one months notice in writing if you wish to end the contract with us. We encourage you to have a chat with us if you have any questions or concerns throughout the life of the tenancy and contract with us. We are a friendly team who are happy to help you.