Rental Warrant Of Fitness: What Is It And Is It Working?

When we consider buying or renting a house, we always need to consider the legal implications that it may come with. In New Zealand the warrant of fitness is legislation put in place to ensure that landlord, sellers and buyers all adhere to the standards and regulations. It is often asked whether the warrant of fitness serves its purpose, so below we shall look at some of the areas in which the warrant of fitness covers and if it is effective in today’s climate.

What is the Warrant of Fitness

The warrant of fitness for rentals gives the landlord the best chance at promoting property that they own. They will be able to give the potential tenant information on how dry and warm the property is and highlight it by showing it meets all the relevant standards that are required. There are about 63 questions covering 29 areas of criteria.

What usually happens with the warrant of fitness is that an inspector comes out to visit the property and conducts the appropriate assessment. This covers areas such as:

–          weather tightness

–          if heating and installation has been adequately supplied

–          if fully functioning smoke alarms have been installed

–          whether cold and hot water is available in each property.

Once the property has been inspected, it will receive a pass or fail from the local council. This will happen on the spot and the landlord is then given the report so that they can see any areas that may need improving. The warrant of fitness is covered for three years and will need renewing after this time.

Letting your Property

Letting your property can be a great way of making more money on your assets. Real estate agents and property asset management teams are a great way to start looking at your investments. These organisations will pride themselves in knowing all the pros and cons of renting a property. Properties for rent are becoming more popular as buying property can sometimes be problematic. As mentioned above, the warrant of fitness will be the first thing that you have to undertake. After this property inspection has taken place, you will then be able to market your property accordingly. Property management companies will be on hand to help you every step of the way and this will alleviate some of the stress related to renting out your property. In some cases, you may be advised to get a professional house inspection completed before you try to go for your warrant of fitness.

The Standards

The standards that are required to rent property are quite stringent. House rental agencies will be able to assist you with the standards that are required. Things like meth residual testing may not be something that you will be aware of, but it is something that will be tested before you start to rent your property. This is a relatively simple test and it will give the future tenant some piece of mind.

Marketing your Property

Once you have decided to rent your property and you’ve been through your warrant of fitness, you will need to check with local letting agents and property management companies of the viability of your future rental. If so, it will now be time to start marketing your property. This, if done by professionals, can be something that is very easy to achieve and succeed in. But if you are the type of person that likes a challenge, then consider marketing your own property. Renting out your property can be made much easier if you present a polished, finished package in the first place.

Marketing your property can be done with some simple steps. Below we will outline some of the steps that you could undertake:

  1.      Make sure the property reaches all the basic requirements to pass the warrant of fitness. This is vital if you wish to get the best tenants possible.
  2.      Make sure everything in the property works. If you have a television, central heating or any other product, make sure it is in full working order and it is in good condition. A prospective tenant will be able to see that you are the type of landlord that looks after your property and will be there for them in the event of any need in the future.
  3.     Cleanliness is an area that can often be overlooked but keeping the property clean and tidy for potential viewings is vital. Potential tenants want to see the property at its best so that they can really see themselves living there. It may sound like a cliché, but you must have that wow factor and a feeling of home for potential tenants. People who want to live there will need to feel like they can make it a home without too much work involved.
  4.     Price is one of the areas that you have to get right as you want to make sure that you are making enough money to warrant renting your property whilst at the same time you don’t want to charge too much where you put potential tenants off. Try charging a reasonable amount for your property to ensure that you get the right people renting it.

Conclusion

Renting your property is not something that is necessarily the easiest thing to do, but with the right help and the right information it is something that you could easily achieve a good yield from. Talking to others in the field is a great way to learn the pros and cons of renting your property. The warrant of fitness has proved itself to be something that does help tenants get a good quality property.

Preparing To Move Out – How Much Work Do You Actually Need To Do?

To come directly to the point, there is no such thing as an easy move. It is ranked alongside major life events such as job change/loss, the death of a loved one or divorce on the level of stress it causes. So the more you prep and plan in advance the easier it will be. Majority of leases terminate during summer, especially towards the end of the school year. Advance planning some weeks ahead can keep your on track and ensure you receive your deposit in full or as much as possible. Keep this 6-step essential checklist handy, refer to it to ensure a smooth move-out.

Give Written Notice

Handover a written notice to your landlord informing him of your intention to move out. The notice must be given well in advance, before the final termination date of your lease. The period of notification differs as per the terms and the duration of your lease, it can sometimes be required as much as 3 months in advance. Check your lease to stay updated on this clause. If your landlord or caregiver is available in the same premises, hand deliver the notice and get them to sign a letter confirming the receipt of the same. Another good option is to mail it with an extra copy, which can be requested to be signed and sent back, to be maintained for your records.

Book a professional

Either book a moving company or rent a moving truck. It is important to do this way ahead of time so that there is no last minute panic. If you are moving in summer, when the majority of leases end, or when the school year ends, you will have to compete with the extra crowd to book a professional. So plan in advance. It will be a major relief on the move day. If there is a gap between your move-in day and your move out day, book a storage unit to keep your belongings safe and ready to move when the day arrives.

Submit the new address

Giving a couple of weeks prior notice of your new address will erase or at the very least reduce any lag in service. Make sure you transfer your mail to your new address by visiting the local post office in your area. This can also be done online. Also notify banks, credit card companies and your landlord of the change in address and don’t wait until the very last minute to do this. Preparing in advance relieves some of the stress of the move. Also,  you may want to get in touch with the utility companies well in advance for the transfer of services if you are moving locally.

Pack

Before you move out, start packing non-essentials weeks in advance. Starting the packing early can provide enough buffer to go through items and see if you really need them, also to make a list and label them appropriately. Give away or throw away items that are no longer needed. You can use this time to declutter your life. Wrap your fragile items in bubble wrap and keep your cleaning supplies out as you would need them especially if you are hoping to get some of your deposit back.

Clean

It comes last on your priority list but is the most essential step, if you don’t want to put in the work hire a professional window cleaner, roof cleaners or even hire them to clean the entire apartment. This is one point that the landlord will bring up while returning your deposit. If you’ve done no damage to the apartment, it just needs a thorough cleaning to get your entire sum back. Turn on a cleanup playlist and get down and dirty. Do this way in advance, to avoid last minute stress. Here’s our handy list.

  •         Take out any nails and screws you have nailed in and fill holes with putty.
  •         Wipe down light switches, doors, windows and walls of any dirt or smudges. Do this step thoroughly
  •         Vacuum, mop, and dust all rooms and living areas. Remove any carpet stains that may have been ignored over the months.
  •         Mop and Vacuum all floor, and clean carpets well. Do this for all the rooms with special consideration for high traffic areas.
  •         Bath
  •         Clean down the tub, sink and remove all your toiletries from the area.
  •         Remove any liners used for cabinets and otherwise and check for hair or other grime. Clean it out.
  •         Clean the pot, mirror, and all other surfaces.
  •         Keep sweeping/vacuuming and mopping as the last step.
  •         Kitchen
  •         Clean out all cabinets and drawers for residual grime and gunk
  •         Clean the refrigerator, remove the shelves and give it a thorough wipe down.
  •         Scrub the oven and stove, also clean the burner, drip pan, and other attachments.
  •         Wipe down all cabinet door, counters, and other surfaces.
  •         Clean the sink and de-clog it.

Say Goodbye

And lastly bid adieu and hand over the keys to your landlord after you do a walk through or inspection with him or her. For additional safety take pictures of the apartment once vacant as further proof if needed. Be sure to ask the date you will receive your deposit back and mark it in the calendar and do a follow-up a week prior.

Now, for some of you, the reason to move out may be because you have bought your own house and are finally ready to start your life in it; setting it up is as essential as this move – getting home security systems, setting up a trust to gain tax exemptions are some of the initial steps you need to take when moving to a new house. Home security systems will ensure the safety of the house. And getting a trust lawyer can ensure your house is well protected and is passed on to your successor after your demise without any complications.

KiwiBuild chances questioned after construction sector meltdown

“I hope Mr Twyford actually achieves what he’s going to do with his 100,000 [new home] target because I think that’s good for New Zealand but my view is he’s going to really struggle to achieve that because I doubt he’s put in place the building blocks to make sure you can get to the stage where you are building an additional 10,000 houses a year,” Bayly said.

Devil in the detail for construction firms

On Monday, the Government and building industry leaders met, following the collapse of major building firm Ebert Construction last week.

Ministers agreed that the Government should advise its departments not to pursue the lowest cost as the main priority for building projects.

Pinterest Vs Reality Interiors

You’ve bought your house or are re-doing it, you’ve agreed on a budget; The next step is to agree on a theme for your interiors. You open the browser and type in ‘www.pinterest.com’ the haven of décor and DIY ideas. You browse through a multitude of images, numerous themes before creating a board of the look you want for your home. You’ve seen the images and decide, this is the look you will achieve. A picture says a thousand words, while this is true. The story behind the picture is often silent. While you see a well put together look on Pinterest and think, well this is easy; the reality of the picture is completely different. You don’t see the rigorous sourcing, the professional help, the haggling with contractors, the stretching of budgets and many such upheavals that come along with the task of doing up the interiors of your house. We are here to show you the other side of the picture, what does it really take to create a Pinterest-alike house? Let’s find out.

PAINTS

While the shade/swatch card is a great start, the reality of the colour will only show once it is on your wall. The card does come close but ultimately lighting, the whitewash quality and other factors weigh in on the final outcome. The easy way is to narrow down on 3 to 5 colours, buy a quart of each and test it on your wall. This is not convenient but in the long run, will save you from picking the wrong colour; for more of such tips click on the guide by HGTV to pick the right paint.

KITCHEN BENCH TOPS

When it comes to kitchen benchtops, the choices are aplenty. Marble, Granite, Quartz, Stainless Steel, Laminates, Butcher Block, Solid Surface and many more. These are the popular choices amongst homeowners. Each comes with a set of benefits and drawbacks. Which one to opt for will depend on the factor around which the decision is based, for instance, style, dependability, availability etc and as it always does, it finally comes down to the cost. Let’s quickly give you an overview of each. Marble while sturdy is high on maintenance as it easily stains and gets scratches, to know more about do and don’t for marble countertops click here. Granite comes in on top when one thinks of counter tops, it has a great finish and unlike marble is not high on maintenance. It’s a good starting point, to know more about the pro and cons click here. Quartz is an easy-fix alternative to granite and marble, albeit expensive, it doesn’t need sealing or regular maintenance like other stones, to know more click here. A stainless steel is once again a good option, which is super durable but avoiding scratches and smears is difficult, the pros and cons are weighed here. These are the popular choices; other choices for kitchen countertops and its pros and cons are listed in this article by Popular Mechanics

FLOORING

Flooring, once again the choices are baffling, narrowing down on a choice of flooring can seem like a daunting task. Once again you have to take into account, what is it that you want to go for – style, durability, ease of maintenance etc. Carpets, Tiles, Hard Wood, Cork and Wood-Look Laminates are popular choices. Keep in mind to research the dos and don’t of flooring before you make a choice. Talk to friends who have recently renovated their houses, call your parents or simply go to a trusted interior decorator to get professional advice. To summarize, go for hardwood or wood look laminates for the style. For durability look at concrete flooring. If you have babies or toddlers who spend a lot of their time on the floor, go for the environmentally friendly option of Cork flooring.

CABINETS

Cabinets are vital to defining character and structure for your kitchen, while other structural components make take precedence over cabinets, it still is an integral part as it covers more than a quarter of your total kitchen space. Functionality trumps style when it comes to picking out cabinets. Architizer helps you pick the right material for cabinets based on the style and functionalities you are looking at.

BEDROOM ESSENTIALS

Pinterest perfect bedrooms don’t happen just like that. It takes meticulous planning and organization, there are many factors at play – such as the flooring, the wall colours, the lighting, the furniture and finally the décor items. When it comes to picking the right wardrobe/cupboard for your bedroom, we have a 4-step guide to make the choice a tad bit easier. Getting the essentials – bed and headboard are crucial, here’s a guide to help you make the right choice. Once the basics are taken care of, you can move on to the aesthetics, Elle Decor shares 25 décor tips for the bedroom.

UPHOLSTERY’

It may not seem like it but the cost of the chair and other upholstery can be significant, and the choice isn’t easy. There are tons of material and patterns to choose from. Picking a material that can be easily cleaned and maintained is essential. When it comes to patterns it can make or break the look and feel of a room. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons while picking the right upholstery for your home, this upholstery 101 article makes the journey easier.

BATHROOM ESSENTIALS

Function and feel need to go hand in hand while designing or remodelling your bathroom. The layout is of foremost importance and should take precedence over décor. Once the foundation is laid out right, move on to the fixtures. This is one place you don’t want to skim out on. Picking quality fixtures can save repair costs in the future. Lastly, pick a theme and get décor items to achieve the look and feel without compromising on utility. This do’s and don’t list will come in handy when undertaking this task.

Pinterest pictures are perfection, your house can be too. Research is the key. Finding a trusted interior decorator can help make the journey a lot smoother. If you are on a budget, finding inspiration online and diligent planning can help you achieve your vision. Equipped with the information mentioned above, you will make your Pinterest dream board a reality.

How To Create A Serene Space In Your Home

If you are thinking about updating your garden so that you have a place where you can relax and unwind then you have come to the right place. We will provide you with some tips and ideas on how to create a calm garden which will become a serene space for you to relax in whilst at home.

To Begin With…

Before you do anything, you need to consider your budget and the space that you have in order to create a garden which will work for you:

  • The Terrain

What is you space like? Is it hilly? Does it have a slope? Is it flat? Is it largely soil or grass? You need to consider these aspects so that you can work with them in order to create a place of serenity.

  • Size

An important aspect is the size of space that you have. If you don’t live alone then you need to factor in which part of the garden you will use to create your serene space. How will you separate this from the rest of the garden? You could use fences, benches, plants etc.

  • The View

Take a look at the view you have from your garden. How will you incorporate this into your design? If you have a nice view such as a set of trees you may want to leave the view as it is. If, however you don’t have much of a view then you could add a bamboo fence to hide the view i.e. if you can see your next-door neighbours dustbins or a row of garden sheds this is a view that’s distracting and far from serene.

Inspiration from Around the World

An aspect that you need to think about is how to create a place where you can feel relaxed and rest in with seclusion. You need to think of your garden as an extension of your home. You want to create a room outdoors which evokes feeling of peace and comfort and not a room which conjures up the opposite image e.g. a room which is messy cluttered and has

carpet water damage or ripped wallpaper. To create this idealistic outdoor room, it is worth taking inspiration from gardens from around the world. For example:

  • Chinese Gardens

A Chinese garden could include a pagoda, a pond and small bridges as well as pathways and trees that hang over.

  • Japanese Gardens

Japanese gardens tend to be minimalistic in terms of their geometry. You could consider adding Japanese maple or cherry blossom trees and aspects related to Zen philosophy. Finally, think about patterns which include sand or small gravel.

  • North American Gardens

This kind of garden would include lots of wooden aspects such as oak, birch and fir trees which produce a multitude of colours in the Autumn season. You’d also need to add lots of aspects which suit birds for feeding such as plants and stands.

The Surfaces

A very important aspect of this type of garden is the surfaces. You need to create surfaces that you can relax in, walk on, lie in and sit on where you are comfortable. The things to consider are:

  • Soft Surfaces: You need to create these from grass or lawn. If you have the time then use growing grass. If on the other hand time is of the essence you may need an instant lawn laying down instead. Always remember to factor in lawn maintenance as part of the general upkeep of your serene space in the long run.
  • Mosaic: if you are looking to splash out and have the time on your hands then mosaics can be a wonderful feature in a garden. Mosaics are a great way of adding a personal touch as you can create a pattern that appeals or means something to you.
  • Other Options: if you want to go for different kinds of surfaces then you could

consider brick, pebbles stones, gravel, slate, garden bark or wood.

Features

In order to make your garden a serene space you need to consider adding items which will enhance this feeling. Some examples are:

  • Water Features

We all know that water brings calm and helps us to feel relaxed regardless of whether the water is still or whether it is moving. In order to add a water related element to your garden you could consider a fountain, a pond, a water bowl or a feature which trickles water.

  • Statues

When it comes to choosing a statue, you need to choose something that creates a sense of serenity and space to you for example a statue of Buddha. This only works however if you take something from the statue that you choose and it does create a feeling of relaxation for you.

  • Blank Spaces

These are areas in your garden that are empty and don’t need to have anything in them and therefore are naturally relaxing.

Plants

If you pick the right plants you will create an outside space which becomes that serene retreat that you are looking for. if you’re not green fingered then you may need to seek some advice of an expert in this area. We will however provide you with a few ideas to think about. For instance, whether you chose to pick plants that would suit an English cottage or you prefer to go for a minimalistic look, you have to pick the plants that make you feel comfortable and relaxed. Consider plants which are tropical or even native, herbal, scented or flower. Think about the shapes, patterns and lines that the plants make and the colours that they create.

Once you have factored in all of these elements in to your new space, you will soon begin to see it take shape and you will be left with that serene space in your home that you can head to at the end of a long, hard day to relax and unwind.

How To Keep Your Home Safe And Secure

We all know that we have to shut our windows, lock our doors and check before we open the door to someone, but what other aspects should we take into account in order to make our homes safe and secure? We will provide you with some advice on how you can make your home even more secure in order to protect your home and yourself from burglary.

Front Door

The front door on your property is very important. You need to have either a steel or a solid wood front door and avoid lightweight doors. To ensure that no one can kick your door open, you can purchase a 4-screw deadbolt strike plate. Screws need to be 3 inches long to ensure that the plate is attached properly to the frame on the door.  Many burglaries tend to take place in the day when people are away from the home at work. Homes that are dark on an evening are also targeted by burglars, so it is worth setting up a system so that lights, a radio or the TV automatically switches on and burglars are fooled into thinking somebody is home.

Sliding Glass Doors and Windows

It is possible to lift some sliding windows and doors off their tracks and these therefore need some form of additional protection. In the track, it is worth placing a heavy shower curtain rod so that burglars are unable to slide the door or window open even if they manage to get past the lock. Another option would be to put in a window sensor alarm. If a window in your home has been opened you will be notified by text or email. You will then be able to get access to a video feed at the location or respond by switching on some lights.

Warning Signs

Burglars want an easy target and won’t want to enter a property where there may be a dog. You may not even have a dog but it is still worth having a ‘beware of the dog’ sign placed in your garden. To take this a step further you could place a dog bowl near a door or install fake security cameras to scare away any burglars.

If you choose to install residential security systems such as an alarm then make sure you have signs on display to show this. If you don’t want to pay a fee each month that’s attached to some burglar alarms in your Wellington home, then you could buy a security sign and display it anyway.

Light

Ensure that the outside of your property is well lit as this will discourage burglars from your home. Install motion sensing lights at doorways and entrances, set external lights on timers or turn a selection of lights off and on remotely using your mobile phone.

Inside your home, place light timers near windows but make sure that you close any curtains so that burglars cannot see these. Make sure that you use these light timers every day and not just when you are away on vacation for instance.

Vacations

Vacations should be a time to switch off and take your mind off everyday stress, the last thing you want to be thinking about is if your home is safe whilst you are away. Burglars try and spot any signs that indicate a homeowner maybe on vacation i.e. flyers which are laid at the front door. If you are away for more than a few days then it’s worth putting a temporary stop of anything that delivered regularly i.e. newspapers, perhaps arrange for a friend or neighbour to collect your mail and see if someone can deal with your rubbish on collection day.

Avoid announcing your vacation on social media and don’t post any pictures whilst you are away. Addresses can be easy to locate online so you don’t want to give any burglars information about your home being empty. If you really want to post pictures on social media, then do it once you are back home.

Valuables

You need to be clever when it comes to disguising any valuables. Purchase blackout blinds which you need to keep closed as you don’t want to display all the amazing stuff that you have inside of your home.

If a burglar manages to get inside your property, it’s likely that he will go for those valuable items that are easy to get a hold of and take. Its known than burglars always check medicine cabinets, bedside tables and dresser drawers. So, don’t keep valuables in these places.

Look Around

In order to keep your home and yourself safe you need to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye open for any changes in your area. Look out for new people that maybe driving or walking around in your neighbourhood. If you are mindful of your surroundings, you are more likely to spot anything that seems unusual and out of the ordinary.

Minor Security Improvements

Pre-purchase building inspections in Wellington have been done but before you get any closer to moving into a new property make sure that you take a good look at the entrance, locks, lights and the fire escapes. Ensure that locks on the windows work and existing locks need to be re-keyed. If you consider how many people have had access to the property in the past e.g. past tenants, a window cleaning company, handymen etc who may still have a key to your new property. Make sure that the front door has a deadbolt lock and it also has a chain lock if it doesn’t have one already. If you choose to have a safe to store valuables, then make sure that it has been bolted to a floor or a wall so that a burglar cannot just pick it up and carry it away with them.

Be sure to take this advice into account to make sure that you keep your home as safe and secure as possible.

Sort to save waste, cash

We don’t even have to give up on stuff that’s going in the bin. Switch the skip for one from recycling specialist Green Gorilla. This firm will sort and recycle up to 75 per cent of skip contents. The costs are the same, if not cheaper, than a standard skip.