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Owners FAQ

How quickly can you lease my property?

Our objective is to find you a tenant in as short a time as possible. We don’t just find any tenant, however, as it is also important you get the right tenant to ensure as smooth a tenancy as possible. As a result, the process of leasing your property typically takes two to three weeks, although this can depend on the property and other factors.

Is my tenant responsible for water rates?

If there is a water meter your tenant is responsible for paying for what they use.

How long can I expect the tenancy to last?

Tenancies vary depending on a number of factors, but we normally agree leases of either six or 12 months. We then aim to renew the lease at the end of this period, usually for a further 12 months.

If a tenant is in arrears, when can they be evicted?

We start chasing tenants who are in arrears on the first day to avoid eviction situations as much as possible. Where a tenant continues to refuse to pay, we will apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to secure an eviction order. We can do this once the tenancy is in arrears for 21 days. The Tenancy Tribunal can take up to three weeks to issue the eviction order.

Do you guarantee the tenant or the tenancy?

At Oaks Property Management, we take several steps to ensure your tenancy runs smoothly. This includes carrying out comprehensive background checks on all tenants, initiating our arrears policy the day after a payment is due, and actively managing the lease.

While these steps are highly effective, we can’t guarantee a tenant will pay the rent or maintain the property.

To get additional protection, you should consider taking out landlord protection insurance to further reduce your risk.

Is my tenant responsible for looking after the garden?

Normally, yes, although garden maintenance can form part of the lease negotiation. That said, more extensive garden maintenance work, such as trimming trees, is usually your responsibility as a landlord.

What factors do you consider when doing a rental appraisal on my property?

We consider the current demand in the market, the rents that tenants currently pay, and the properties that are currently available on the market.

How much will I have to spend on property maintenance?

Experts say maintenance normally costs up to one percent of the value of the property each year. This varies from property to property, however. For example, older properties are generally more expensive to maintain than newer properties.

What tenancy documentation do you use and who signs it?

At Oaks Property Management, we operate according to the Residential Tenancies Act. This means we put in place a tenancy agreement and prepare a property condition report for each property we rent. There is also a bond lodgement form. You can sign these documents or we can sign them on your behalf.

Who is responsible for the maintenance costs of listed chattels?

Listed chattels can include everything from the stove to the curtains to the burglar alarm. Unless the tenant damages any of these items, you are responsible for their maintenance.

Do I have to set the rent at your appraisal value?

No, you can decide to set your rent at whatever value you want. Keep in mind, however, that the wrong rental value can cost you money. This applies both if the rent is set too low and if it is set too high.

What do I need to know if I have a swimming pool or spa?

Firstly, your swimming pool or spa will need a full fence around it that meets current regulations. You can then negotiate the maintenance of the pool in the tenancy agreement, although most landlords look after maintenance themselves.

Who gets keys to my property?

We need a full set of keys that will be kept at the Oaks Property Management office. Each person listed on a tenancy agreement must also get a full set of keys. This includes door, window, garage door, and any other keys relevant to the property. You are responsible for getting sets of keys cut.

Do I need to get insurance?

Your tenant should get contents insurance to cover the contents of the property they own. You, however, are responsible for insuring the building and any contents you own, i.e. the chattels.

Do I have to fit an alarm?

You must make your property reasonably secure. This means fitting locks to doors and windows, but you do not have to fit an alarm. If the tenant wants to make the property more secure they must get your permission and pay all the costs of adding the new security. They must also give us copies of the new keys as well as any relevant security codes, pin codes, etc.

Do I have to allow pets and what happens if I do?

You can choose not to allow pets in your property. If, however, you are happy to let your tenants have pets, we will include conditions and restrictions in the tenancy agreement. This can cover the number and type of pets, whether the pet has to be kept outside, clarifying that the tenant is responsible if their pet causes damage to the property, and more.

Can I sell my property?

If the tenancy agreement has a fixed term, the tenant is entitled to stay in the property for the full length of the term. If there is no fixed term, the tenant can expect the tenancy to be long-term. This is normally regarded as one or two years. If you sell your property within any of these periods, you may have to pay the tenant compensation.

Will my property be vacant at any time throughout the year?

We keep vacancy rates as low as possible, but you should factor about two weeks of vacant time a year into your budget.

Do I have to fit a smoke alarm?

Yes. In addition, it must be suitable for the property and fitted in the right place. You must also get your smoke alarms checked to ensure they work properly.

Do I have to fit lightbulbs?

At the start of a tenancy agreement, yes. During the tenancy, however, the tenant is responsible for replacing lightbulbs.

When can I increase the rent?

You can increase the rent every six months although you should remember the rent you set must always be reasonable. If it’s not, your tenant might make a complaint to the Tenancy Tribunal.

Can I inspect my property?

Yes, but you must give the tenant at least 48 hours’ notice. The inspection must also be carried out at a time that suits the tenant.

What happens at the end of a tenancy?

If you want to end the tenancy at the end of a fixed-term agreement, you must give 30 days’ notice to the tenant.

If you want to keep the tenant, we will attempt to negotiate a new tenancy agreement for another fixed term. If this is not put in place, the tenancy becomes a periodic tenancy. In this situation, the tenant must give you 21 days’ notice if they want to terminate the tenancy. You must give 90 days’ notice if you want to terminate.

Do I need to install insulation and what is an Owners Insulation Statement?

Recent law changes mean you must provide prospective tenants with an Owners Insulation Statement. This gives details of the insulation in the property.

The new laws also require you to install ceiling and underfloor insulation in your property by 1 July 2019, if there is none currently installed.

What happens if my tenant wants to break the tenancy agreement?

If a tenant wants to end a tenancy agreement before the end of the fixed term, they must continue to pay the rent until you find a new tenant or the fixed term expires. They must also pay the cost of advertising the property to find a new tenant, but you must ensure all reasonable efforts are taken to find a new tenant quickly.

Who is responsible for clearing gutters?

Usually, this is your responsibility as the landlord and property owner

What happens if there is damage to the property at the end of the tenancy agreement?

Tenants are not liable for reasonable wear and tear of the property. They are, however, liable to pay for damage, although determining what is damage and what is wear and tear is not always easy.

Normally the cost of damage comes out of the tenant’s bond. For damage that costs more than the amount of the bond, you can claim for it on your landlord’s insurance or claim against the tenant at a tenancy tribunal.

Are tenants responsible for forwarding on my mail?

We do ask tenants to do this but they don’t have to. It is best to request a redirection from New Zealand Post.

When should I carry out meth testing?

We recommend you do this at the start and end of each tenancy.