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Landlord FAQ

What does a property manager do?

Rental Results Property Managers handle all the aspects of property management that a landlord should. We find and select great tenants, inspect the property on a regular basis and report back to the owners, arrange maintenance, collect rent and do all the paperwork. In the unlikely event something does go wrong, we manage the situation in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act and if necessary, take care of the Tenancy Tribunal process. We pay all rent collected to the landlord regularly and send statements clearly showing the money coming in going out each month. Every year we prepare a yearly statement (an End of Year Summary) to make your accounting easier and less expensive.

We also are available 24/7 to handle emergencies at your properties so you do not have to be. Imagine that, your property investment providing you with a regular return for no effort on your part. Not only that, but because we take great care of your property, your asset is constantly going up in value relative to other rental properties, making you wealthier and your properties more desirable to tenants.

How much does property management cost?

A great property manager pays for themselves by adding value.

Using quality service people, recommending effective upgrades, obtaining bulk discounts and passing them on and reviewing the rent regularly.

A quality property manager works to minimise vacancy by advertising the property effectively to the target market, showing prospective tenants through as soon as the current tenant gives notice and having any ‘in-between’ tenancy maintenance taken care of quickly so your property is ready to rent straight away.

Property managers also have less tenancy problems than private landlords. Bad tenants know to stay away from the experts. What is the value of peace of mind knowing you are getting better tenants and those tenancies are being managed properly?

Our rates are very competitive and transparent – you will not get stung with miscellaneous charges that add considerably to the commission as some companies do. We do NOT charge extra for rental appraisals, administrative costs such as postage, calls or copying, sale of property, photography - these and many more are all inclusive with our management fees.

Property Management is not for the faint hearted and many landlords 'don’t know what they don’t know.' From learning all the details in the Residential Tenancies Act, to avoiding thousands of dollars in fines, it is worth getting expert advice in this area. It is similar to getting good legal advice when you need it - the going rate for lawyers is $300 per hour, and that is money well spent. See our 'Management Fees' page for more information.

How many properties do your property managers handle?

The industry guidelines to the maximum number of properties a property manager can effectively handle is 120 properties per property manager.

We prefer to deliver quality to our clients, and keep our property managers at a lower ratio to ensure they can give excellent service with a smile and give your property the individual attention it deserves.

How do I know my rent money is safe?

In accordance with best practice outlined by the IPMA we operate a Trust Account which all rent money is paid into. This money is kept separate from the business administration account and is regularly reconciled to double check you have been paid exactly what you should be. You will be issued statements electronically to your email account so you know exactly what is happening. You can also phone or email us for clarification, we are happy to answer your questions.

How do you choose a good tenant for my property?

While instinct is a good guide to the first ‘cut’ in selecting tenants for a property, it should never be relied upon alone. We interview potential tenants during their property viewings and if we need more information, we ask. All tenants must fill out a detailed application form in which they nominate referees, who are telephoned and interviewed. These referees will include current and former landlords, employers and a character referee. We also check tenants are not on the Tenancy Tribunal Decisions Database, and complete the application with a credit check.

Over many years honing our skills in selecting good tenants, we are so confident of our ability to choose the best tenants for your property we offer a Tenant Selection Guarantee. If you take full property management with us and we select a tenant that breaches their tenancy agreement and needs to be dealt to by Tenancy Tribunal, we will pay the application fee and our time preparing and attending is absolutely free to you. See our Tenant Selection Guarantee for more information on this.

Where do you advertise my property for let?

The saying goes 'you can't sell a secret', so we advertise your available properties widely. We list properties on popular real estate websites such as TradeMe.co.nz, and Sella.co.nz. We encourage prospective tenants to sign up for alerts to tell them when a suitable property is coming available. Where necessary, we place advertisements in local papers (different suburbs benefit from different approaches – we aim to deliver the most cost effective coverage for your property). We can also put a ‘For Rent’ sign in front of available properties when possible, as neighbours often know someone looking for a property near-by and people interested in an area will drive the streets to get familiar with the area. We also let people in our networks know about our vacancies – they know other people who are actively looking.  We are finding an increased response from advertising properties on Facebook and Twitter.  Check out our pages to see how this works.

How long will my property be vacant?

This is the million dollar question! Alas, we cannot predict how long your property will be vacant but we do everything in our power to minimise it. As soon as the tenant gives notice, we start advertising and negotiate with the outgoing tenant to show the property as many times as it takes to rent it to a good quality tenant. This gives the new tenant enough time to give their notice and be ready to move in as soon as it’s available.

Wherever possible we negotiate leases to end during a peak letting time – i.e. when tenants are plentiful, but properties are not.

We do our best to match the asking rent to the market, but it can be worth considering reviewing asking rent if the property is not receiving the interest it should. It can be better to drop the rent by $10 to get a tenant now rather than endure a long vacancy. For instance, if your rent is $260 per week, it will take a whole year at $10 extra each week to recover a fortnight’s extra vacancy. If your rent is $500 per week, it will take a year to recover just one weeks' extra vacancy for the sake of $10.

There are a number of things that can lift the appeal of a property. We are happy to discuss cost effective ways of making your property more rentable and/or able to fetch a higher rental return.

How can I maximise the rent my property gets?

In life, you need to give in order to get. Taking care of maintenance and having everything working well really helps, after all, would you want to rent something broken? Tenants notice the dripping spouting and the broken doorknobs so we advise to get those things fixed so you get the best tenants taking care of your property.

Having an insulated house reduces the number of tenant’s leaving after a cold winter, saving you advertising and vacancy costs. There are a lot of subsidy schemes available currently to help you do this with great savings. Contact us to see who can help in your area.

Presenting the property nicely inside and out, with everything being really clean is essential to any property. Installing some extras such as dishwashers or good heating can also be a big draw card. Doing attractive renovations rather than sticking in Granddad’s second-hand curtains, helps get tenants signed up and paying more.

Offering extra’s like taking care of lawns and gardens, ‘free’ broadband or having white-ware provided can help increase rent when applied to the right property. Most importantly, have the property ‘fit’ the target market. Family homes need baths and safe back yards. Student flats want lots of power points and phone jacks and most people want secure parking for their vehicles.

Talk to us before you renovate so we can help you make the right choices. Sign up to our monthly newsletter for hints and tips.

How can I get improvements done for a reasonable cost?

Owners often ask us to assist with renovations to properties as we have good networks of trades-people and suppliers. Many of those give us better deals due to the volume of work we can offer them (and we pay their bills promptly!). Due to affiliations with various groups, we are eligible for discounts we can pass on to you.

We can work out a budget with you for your renovation work and you remain in control. A typical example of a renovation was a 3 bedroom flat upgraded for $5,600 including labour and materials. This lifted the rent by $40 per week and had a pay-back period of 2.7 years, or 37% return on investment. As this figure included some maintenance as well as improvements, the real return on investment was even better.

You will need to consider the quality of the property you are renovating and do the renovation to suit. A million dollar home is ruined with 'cheap' looking appliances and material, whereas top-of-the-range fittings can be overcapitalising on lower priced homes. We’ll help you to understand what is enough but not too much.

Is the rent guaranteed?

We market properties with a fair rental amount for the location, features and condition of the property. We check tenants carefully for their ability and willingness to pay the asking rent.

However, sometimes a change of circumstances causes problems  in rent payments. We keep close eye on rent coming in and follow up as soon as a rental payment is late with a phone call/text message/email, and a 14-day-letter to remedy if that doesn't do the trick. Where required, we apply to tribunal. In one year we achieved a 99.6% success rate of tenants leaving properties without any money owning, when other landlords were reporting 5 – 10 % of tenants left owing money.

Research shows that property managers such as Rental Results significantly decrease investment risk and improve returns. Our careful selection of tenants allows us to offer our Tenant Selection Guarantee.

If you want to learn more ways to reduce your investment risk, join your local property investors association.  We recommend The Wellington Property Investors' Association www.wnpia.co.nz

What happens if tenants owe money when they leave?

If a tenant leaves owing money there are several courses of action we can take. Assuming the tenant has been asked to pay and they have not, the first, and simplest option is to deduct it from the bond.

If that is not sufficient for any reason, the second option is to apply to Tenancy Tribunal. If the tenant is ordered to pay, we will make arrangements with them to do so.

Failing this, we can help you seek an Order of Examination or other orders through the Courts, and a Warrant to Arrest if they still do not comply. This is fairly serious, and is very rarely needed. We can also arrange a debt collection agency to recover the debt.

We are so confident of our tenant selection and rent monitoring we will attend Tenancy Tribunal for FREE to sort out tenancy issues so you get the money you deserve.  See our Tenant Selection Guarantee for more details.

Do I need to let my insurance company know the property is rented?

Yes! You need to let your insurance company know if the use of your property has changed. Make sure they cover you for ‘landlord’s contents’ – things like carpet, curtains, stoves. Normally these would be covered by your contents policy if you lived in the property.  A tenants contents policy will not cover your goods.

There are several other extensions to policies some insurance companies offer, such as ‘loss of rent’ should your property need extensive work (e.g. after fire or flood) and is uninhabitable during that time. We recommend ‘glass and sanitary fixtures’ extension to cover accidental breakage of windows, toilets, basins and so on. Not all companies offer all of these policies so shop around.  There are policies to cover damage by tenants and many more.  We recommend you talk to an insurance advisor to work out what you require.

Let your property manager know what policies you have so they handle claims appropriately, particularly if you are not contactable for a period of time, such as travelling abroad. It is very important that properties are inspected regularly so any insurance claims are covered. Check your fine print on the insurance policy and discuss it with your property manager. We can recommend an insurance advisor if you do not already have one.

Do tenants need insurance?

We highly recommend all tenants have contents insurance with ‘public liability’ cover. This insures tenant’s belongings should there be a burst pipe or some other building disaster (the landlords cover is unlikely to replace tenants belongings). If the tenant accidentally causes damage to the landlord’s property (e.g. if they backed their car into a fence, overflow the bath, or a cooking disaster causes a kitchen fire) they may be covered. Without insurance cover, the landlord’s insurance company could try to recover the costs from the tenant. The cost of insurance is a small price compared to rebuilding a house.

We make sure all our tenants know about insurance that will cover them in these instances when we sign their tenancy agreements. However, under current New Zealand tenancy law it is not compulsory for tenants to have insurance, but it is considered very wise to have it. We can recommend an insurance advisor if one is needed.

Do I need to change the locks at each change of tenant?

No, you do not. However, properties need to be secure, so if you have any doubts about security it's a good idea to get them changed. We make detailed notes of the numbers of keys issued to tenants when they move in, and we expect the same number to be returned.

If tenants have cut extra keys, we ask they also return those too and the landlord reimburses reasonable costs towards key cutting. This allows tenants to have the right number of keys for their needs, but discourages tenants holding onto keys ‘because they paid for them’.

If we do not get all the keys back, outgoing tenants must pay for new locks. We recommend where applicable access codes and alarm codes to properties are changed for new tenants.

Locks for the property need to be in good condition and secure. Everyone deserves to live in a safe and secure home. Tenants are not permitted to change locks or add locks to the property without prior written permission from the owner or property manager, and if permission is granted, they must immediately deliver 2 extra keys as a condition of their tenancy.

Due to our extensive checking of tenants, if there is a break-in and it looks like a key was used to access, we can supply information to the police on possible key holders. Contact us if you would like to know more about property security, or would like to have a locksmith or alarm company recommended.

How often can rent be reviewed?

By law, rent cannot increase within 6 months of the start of the tenancy.  At Rental Results, we review rents as follows: Rent is reviewed every time a tenant gives notice to vacate. For periodic tenancies, rent is reviewed every December (to start in February) and June (to start in August), after the first 6 months in the property.

Most people don't realise rent can be reviewed in fixed-term tenancies.  At Rental Results we ensure we can review rents, so rent is reviewed 6 monthly, varying with start dates of contracts. Rent reviews do not always result in an increase in the rent. ‘Review’ is just that, we take another look to see how the property compares with others in the market. If you would like to know if you are getting market rent for your properties, contact us for your free rental appraisal.

I want to move back into my property – what do I need to do?

If you decide to move back into your property, contact us as soon as possible. By law, tenants with a periodic tenancy must have 42 days (6 weeks) notice if an owner, or a member of their family, want to move into the property. Please note if you own the property in the name of a company or trust you may need to give 90 days notice - an entity does not have family! The more notice you can give us, the better.

Please note fixed term tenancies cannot be terminated by notice, so let us know if you are considering returning to your house so we can structure our tenancy agreements appropriately.  We will contact you prior to every lease renewal to ensure agreements with tenants and your plans for the property are aligned.

I am thinking of selling the property – do I need to tell the tenants to leave?

Not necessarily. Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 and its 2010 Amendments, real estate salespeople must have access to the property to show it and the tenant can impose reasonable conditions on that access. Tenants must be told the property is on the market. When the property sells, the new owners may want to keep the existing tenants, or they may want the property with ‘vacant possession’. If it is sold with vacant possession and the tenants are on a periodic tenancy, the tenants are given 42 days notice only when the contract goes unconditional (not when it is listed for sale - a common mistake).  If tenants are on a fixed-term lease, settlement can either be after lease expiry to give vacant possession, or the buyer can take over as landlord until the contract ends.  Alternatively the tenancy can be ended by mutual agreement with the tenants.

It is worth bearing in mind that tenants are a big asset when selling your property - if they are kept informed of the process and treated with respect, they can help you get a better price for the property by presenting it at its best for property viewings. Tenants need to keep in mind that the new owner could be a landlord too and will be assessing whether they want to keep the tenants by how they treat the property and how easy they are to deal with. Ask the tenants first if they want to buy the property, it could save everyone a lot of time, stress, and hassle. If you want a recommendation for great real-estate salespeople, contact us.

What qualifications do you have to be a property manager?

Unfortunately there are no officially recognised qualifications for independent property managers operating outside a real estate company. Real estate agency based property managers can complete the same sales certificate real estate salespeople complete to be considered competent. At Rental Results, we think the meagre expectations of available qualifications poorly reflect the level of skill and expertise the industry should demand.

Fortunately the IPMA (Independent Property Managers Association), of which Rental Results is a member, is actively seeking a useful and standardised qualification to assist investors when choosing a property manager. Rental Results has a culture of learning for its team - we regularly participate in learning events related to property and also in the wider sphere of professional development. We encourage our team to read extensively about investing and property management from the Rental Results library and their own finds on paper and electronic media.

The principal of Rental Results holds postgraduate qualifications. To prepare for property management Jackie Thomas-Teague completed the compulsory real estate sales qualification REINZ (Real Estate Institute of New Zealand) requires of their property managers. She also studied towards a Property Management Certificate. Experience is the best teacher. As a landlord since 2000, and full-time property manager since 2005 with a variety of properties in her portfolio she gained tonnes of experience. We belong to the IMPA  and Jackie is currently the President of the Wellington Property Investors Association (WnPIA). We are also able to call on various experts such as the Department of Building and Housing, to answer curly questions, and they have been of invaluable assistance wording the many clauses in the tenancy contract Rental Results uses. Rental Results also networks with others in the industry to give you the best information about what is happening in the market. For more information, click on the ‘Meet the Team’ under the About Us section or come and meet us to see for yourself.

Do you give advice?

We give opinions. Lots of them.  We can recommend a course of action, but we do not make you take it. We know investors need to follow their own path, and what works for one person may not work for another. You are welcome to get a second opinion before acting on our recommendations and do whatever will let you sleep soundly at night.  Come in for a chat over a coffee to sound us out or give us a call.  We'll be happy to bounce some ideas around, but please remember, your choices are your responsibility and you should be sure of any actions you choose to take.

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Our Philosophy

We are honest and act with integrity.  We think it is necessary to love what one does, leave things better than they were found and take time to enjoy the world while we walk it.   We bring quality to others in our dealings and treat people with respect.  
We think it is essential to have fun, so humour is always welcome at Rental Results.

Awards & Associations

We are a member of the Independent Property Managers' Association (IPMA), which is comprised of a group of non-REINZ affiliated Property Managers.

We are also members of the Wellington Property Investors Association and Jackie Thomas-Teague is the president.