Council package could cost $29m

Hutt City Council is being forced to redirect more than $19m to top up the budget for The Development Stimulus Package, which was introduced in 2012 to encourage rbuilding projects by not imposing resource consent and building consent fees, development contributions and reserves contributions.

Tenants stop garage plan

The landlords, Rewi and Enid Forster, had planned to build a garage on the rental property, but had not agreed this with the tenants before the start of the tenancy. Neither had they informed them of the timeline or exact location of the build, leaving the tenants feeling unable to make an informed decision.

Top 7 Things You Need To Know About Buying A Rental

The idea of having a property that makes money on itself without you lifting a finger is one that many people dream of. “We’ll just buy a property, rent it out, and it’ll pay off the mortgage and we’ll make heaps of cash”, is what many people say about a cash cow like a rental property. There are some truths to this, if done right, but there’s also a lot of reality that we’re missing. To bring you back down to earth, and to realise what you might actually be getting yourself into, we’ve put together some of the top things that you should know about buying a rental property.

We don’t write this to scare you out of buying; rather, the opposite! Rental properties can be extremely lucrative and can help boost your retirement savings and capital. But it is important that you know what type of work you can expect.

You’ll want a thorough budget

Let’s start with one of the most important things, first. Budgeting correctly for your own home is difficult but incredibly important, but budgeting for a second investment property like a rental is even more important. You aren’t just looking at whether or not you can afford the mortgage or having money set aside for a big repair, you also need to include what will happen if you don’t have tenants right away, or if you’re slapped with high taxes on the rent money you receive. Do your research, and talk with a financial advisor or even another rental manager if possible to get their insight.

Your budget will also need to include little things like when you have to hire out a carpet repair specialist in between tenants, or the cost of rental furniture to furnish a flat initially. Consider also the taxes on the building, like council taxes, as well as any utilities that you aren’t charging the tenant.  

You’ll need to be able to pay two mortgages

The truth about rental properties is that there will always be a time when you’re paying two mortgages. Hopefully this is an occurrence that’s few and far between, but please make sure your budget is prepared for this. Even if it’s just one month in between one tenant moving out and another moving in, you should have plenty of room in your budget to cover this. We recommend having at least 6 months of the second mortgage covered, in case of long term repairs or a slow rental market. If you decide to work with a property manager instead of doing it yourself, they will likely have something written into the contract about what happens in these situations, and may cover you for a while.

You need to do a lot of research

The location and type of rental property you’re getting will decide what types of tenants you’ll get, so it’s something you need to think about. If you’re looking to attract students near a university, you’ll need a rental property that will suit them well, like small studio apartments that you can rent out at lower cost. Getting a rental appraisal will help you decide what rent you can get out of the property.

You might need renovations

If you aren’t buying a ready to move in property, be prepared to foot the bill for some reno costs. For easier renovations, you could consider doing them yourself too. Here’s a list of some renovations you might be able to tackle regardless of your experience. Basic renovations when buying a property might just be updating flooring or painting the walls, or it might be more extensive like replacing some plumbing in units.

You’ll need to write a lease

If you’ve never written a contract before, this one might seem a bit daunting, but it’s important to get right. You’ll want a strong lease that explains the ins and outs of the tenancy, as well as stating exactly what the terms and conditions are. It’s also important to include sections on what happens if a tenant needs to break the lease early, or other situations like that. That way, you both will be covered under the agreement.

You’ll be screening tenants

The tenants you have in your property should be responsible, pay rent, and alert you to any issues in the flat. It can be overwhelming to figure out who is going to be a good tenant, and still follow the tenancy laws at the same time. Here are some good tips for avoiding a bad situation with tenants.

Again, alternatively you could use a rental letting agent to take care of this for you. Many property management companies are well experienced in this process, and have access to background check software and may be able to perform a more extensive screening than you are able to.

You will be responsible for maintenance

Those midnight emergency calls about the toilet overflowing and the tenant can’t stop it are your calls to take now, good luck! In all honesty, these types of emergency calls won’t happen that often, but you will get calls about plumbing issues, something breaking, or other random maintenance often, and you’ll need to be prepared for it. If you’ve got a small property, it may be easy to keep up with the repairs yourself. For larger or multiple properties, you might need to look into hiring a maintenance company or person to manage the maintenance. If you’re lucky, you might also have a handy tenant in your property that could manage maintenance in exchange for reduced rent.

Okay, so maybe this is a lot to think about and it a bit scary, but if you can nail down these seven things than you’ll be in a lot better position to buy a rental property. Awareness is the most important thing, so simply being fully aware of the things that can go wrong and having a contingency plan for them will ensure that your rental property is a success, and that you’ll actually turn a profit from it.

How To Write A Lease For Your Rental Property

If you’ve decided to rent out your property there are a number of channels that you can go down to make sure that both you and your tenant are protected. Your tenant will have most likely have looked through a number of houses for rent and they will have looked into some key areas for their peace of mind. They will want to be sure that all the relevant testing for the property and the lease agreement is of a good standard and adheres to all relevant rules and regulations. If you are the type of person that wants to take on all aspects of letting out your property yourself, then it is important that you make sure that all these aspects are covered in your lease agreement.

If an estate agent or letting agent has taken on board the letting of your property this will usually have taken care of this aspect. If however, you have decided to let out your property yourself without the help if any professionals then you will need to ensure that you have this included in the lease. Typically meth testing comes at the beginning or end of a lease, if suspected, so having a caveat about your right to test is important.

  • Writing the Lease

If you are renting out your property the lease document between yourself and your tenant needs to cover the basic aspects that the tenant is responsible for and vice versa. It should outline the duties of each party so that you both understand what is required of each other. Having a well written lease is vital to prevent future problems which may otherwise occur.

  • Formatting

Across the world there are a number of sites that will offer you a free template which will provide you a guide of how to correctly write a lease document. A lot of local governments have standardised documents which you can copy.

  • Document Title

It is important to get the right title for your document. Having a title such as ‘lease’ would be okay but titles such as ‘lease agreement’ or ‘rental agreement’ are a better choice. This title chosen makes it much clearer as to what the document is about.

  • Headings

It is important to have a number of headings on your documents in order for it to be clear. Headings such as ‘term’, ‘rent’ and ‘property’ are all examples of titles that you could use. You can also even include a subsection which outlines the tenant’s responsibilities and the landlord’s responsibilities. Be sure to bold the titles so that they stand out and are clear.

  • Provisions

On your document it is worth having a key which defines the document. A good example of this is to describe the word ‘rent’ so that it is explicit what is meant by rent.

  • Signatures

Once the document has been completed don’t forget to leave a section for any signatures. The main signatures that will be needed are the tenant’s signature and the landlord signature.

  • Checking the Law

This may sound like an obvious point but making sure that you adhere to all the local laws is crucial. If you innocently violate the law, you may invalidate your lease. The lease also needs to state the amount of rent that you will be charging and the frequency in which you will be charged. It is also important to advise the tenant of any other charges that may occur. Finally, don’t forget to state the length of the lease.

  • Other aspects to include

On the lease you need to state where the rental property is located and if there are any other areas of responsibility. For example, any gardens or out buildings.

  • The occupants

As the landlord, you’ll need to be aware of who is renting your property. You can list the names of any tenants on your lease. This will protect you if for example the tenant does not pay the rent.

  • Agreeing on the rental length

As briefly mentioned above, the lease should contain a set time of how long the property will be leased for. Typically, a lease agreement is between six months and a year. That said, a short lease agreement can be possible too. You might want to add in a section on what would happen to the tenant if you put up the property for sale as well.

  • Rent due date

The date that the rent is due to be paid can be added onto a lease agreement. Somewhere in the lease you also need to state any deposits that have been paid, and who they’ve been lodged with.

  • Bills

As part of a lease agreement it is a good idea to incorporate a section on the domesticated bills. State what the tenant is responsible for and make sure that you take accurate readings of any meters at the house before the tenant moves in to the property.

  • Deposits

The deposit that the tenant pays should be documented, as mentioned above. A deposit is necessary in order to protect you from any damage that may occur to your property or your belongings within property whilst being rented. The deposit needs to be kept safe for when your tenants leaves so that you can return what is owed to them.

  • Late Payments

On a lease agreement you need to outline the procedures for any late payments. This will help you should you ever need to terminate a lease agreement.

  • The completed lease

Once your lease has been written and signed, your tenants are free to move in. Get your tenants to contact their moving company or shipping container house so that you can organise the start date of the agreement. It is worth discussing this with your tenants as some tenants like to have the house available a few days before they are ready to move their belongings in to it.

Writing a lease does not need to be daunting as long as it’s kept simple and all of the above steps are incorporated. The agreement is not there to catch anyone out, it acts as a legal guide to ensure that all parties are aware of what is expected of them, and protect both you and your tenants for the future.

Auckland house sales hit 10-year low

Barfoot sold 474 houses last month, down from 665 in February 2018, the lowest monthly turnover since December 2008, a time when New Zealand’s mezzanine finance sector was in the process of collapsing and the global financial crisis was in full swing.

How To Find the Best Tenants For Your Property

Finding the best tenants for your property can be a daunting task. Although somebody may seem okay initially, it’s impossible to judge what type of tenant they will make. From the tenant’s point of view, they will be looking for a number of attributes in a property that will suit their needs. They will judge your property on a number of aspects which we will cover shortly. For you, as the landlord, here are a number of ways to seek out the ideal tenants.

Referencing

Referencing your tenants can be done in a number of ways. The first way would be to run a criminal background check. Although we hope that any criminal convictions will be spent, the type of convictions or the fact that they have been convicted in the past, may give you an insight in to the type of person you may be dealing with. Secondly you can choose to conduct a personal reference. Personal references can often be sought from a friend of the tenant or an employer. Although referencing may not directly point you to the type of person the tenant is, it will give you snippets of the type of lifestyle the tenant lives and you can then decide if this suits your property or what you are looking for in a tenant.

Credit Checking

As with any investment, you want to ensure that you have a regular yield. Therefore, it is worth checking a potential tenant’s credit score as you will then be able to see if they will pay the rent on time. This gives you the peace of mind that they are financially secure. It is by no means a guarantee that they will pay, but it does help you to build a background picture of the tenant.

Adhering To The Law

It is important that both tenants and landlords follow the rules and regulations that have been set by the local governments. When looking for the ideal tenants, the tenant will also expect to be treated fairly as well, as after all, it is a two-way process. If a tenant feels valued then there is more chance that they will respect your property in the way that you wish for.

Rental History

The rental history of a prospective tenant will show you what type of tenant they have been in the past. Try to look for the reason as to why they are moving house to make sure that they are not just moving from one property to another.

Creating Rules

When you embark on renting out a property, having some rules in place will make sure that your tenant is fully aware of what is expected of them. There is no point in assuming your tenant will know what you expect from them, you need to make things clear and black and white. Consider aspects such as:

  • Will you allow pets in the property?
  • Does the décor in the property need to remain as it is or can it be changed?
  • Do the ages of any children in the property matter? If so what are your requirements.

Stability

You need to check to see if your tenant is in work and if so how long have they been working there for. Ask a prospective tenant questions such as:

  • Have you moved in the last 6 months?
  • What they earn as you need to make sure that they can comfortably afford to pay the rental amount.

Go With Your Gut

When you have met a prospective tenant, it is human nature to make an instant judgment. If you get a bad feeling about a tenant then it is prudent to shy away from this tenant. Your basic instincts can often guide you. Again, it may not be a fair way of deciding between tenants and it is still very easy to make a mistake, but your instincts are not often wrong.

As you can see there are a number of ways of seeking out a good tenant. Another aspect to consider is what a prospective tenant will get from you and their expectations. Here are some examples:

Cleanliness

If you take a look at the outside of a property and it is full of moss and in poor state of repair, it is worth hiring a moss removal treatment company to make sure that the appearance of the property is at its best. The same can be said for the guttering on a property. Gutter cleaning will show a prospective tenant that the property has be properly maintained. You also need to take a look at the doors and the windows of the property. Most of us will get the outside of the windows professionally cleaned but it’s also important to remember that if you have an interior window which has any damage or fogging or is dirty, this needs some attention. As remember a tenant spends most of the time inside the property not outside.

Security

Tenants now look for a high level of security within a property. Having window and door locks and alarm system has fast become the norm. If, however you do not have an alarm in your property, getting one fitted is highly advisable. Alarm installation doesn’t have to be costly, but the more advanced that your system is, the more marketable your property will become. Consider add-ons such as panic buttons and alarm monitoring as these will show your tenants that you take security safely.

By taking the above advice in to account you can see that there are steps to follow when it comes to selecting the best tenant for your property.