Archive for the 'Tenants' Category

Property Management Advice from Sabine Slade

My name is Sabine Slade and I live with my husband in Kawerau. I came to New Zealand 26 years ago from Berlin, Germany. We own a number of investment properties throughout the Bay of Plenty which I manage myself.  A couple of years ago, other investors started to approach me about their properties and I now manage investment properties for others as well.

I find that being a Property Manager takes patience and the ability to deal with many different personality types, which is a challenge I thrive on.

Tips on looking for new tenants

I locate tenants through a mixture of advertising in the local papers and online via Trade Me.

Interested parties fill out an application form that includes a privacy waiver clause so that I can conduct full reference and credit checks. Sometimes searching for a new tenant can be an adventure, I have seen people give false details on the application form about their employment, credit rating or where they live. I often will have a browse on the internet as part of the checks for my clients. Social media sites can be helpful as well as the Tenancy Information New Zealand (T.I.N.Z) database.

From time to time smaller towns can have problems with unemployment and gang related issues, so every person who wants to move into a property I manage, has to fill out an application form, thus eliminating the chance that the well dressed, well-spoken and mannered working mother, gets the house and then has her gang affiliated partner moving in with her.  This may sound onerous, however there are usually fewer people looking to rent in smaller towns compared to the larger cities, so a strict vetting process  is much preferable than dealing with a bad tenant later on.

Given the size of the market I do not charge a letting fee, however I ask a full 4 week bond.  Once a tenant is found, the key word for retention is service.

Effective property management practices

When I ask prospective tenants why they are moving, the response many times was that the landlord is “slack”. The tenants had problems such as a stove or power point not working, or a leaking roof, notified the Landlord and nothing happened.   I try to solve any issues within 24 hours either by organizing tradespeople to visit and quote for the bigger jobs or we simply perform repairs ourselves if it is a smaller issue such as a dripping tap. This not only ensures a very positive tenant / landlord relationship but tenants will make more effort to keep the place well looked after. Saving money is good, but not at the expense of your tenants.

However quite often the tenants do not ring me with problems, so regular 3 monthly inspections are important. They keep me in contact with the tenant and also to keep up with any maintenance or repair issues.

I check the rents when they are due. If a payment is missed, I ring or visit the tenant letting them know that the rent was not paid and find out how they plan on catching up.
99% of the time they catch up when the next rent payment is due. If this does not happen I will give them a 14 day letter to remedy which is then followed by an application to the Tenancy Tribunal. In bigger markets property managers are stricter, however it can pay to show some flexibility to an otherwise very good tenant – at least for the first occurrence.

As a rental property owner it certainly helps if you have some sort of cash cushion. More houses means more liabilities and you should be in the position to replace a large ticket item like hot water cylinder or wood burner / heat pump if anything goes wrong. We experienced it ourselves when we wanted to insulate one of our rentals and the company giving the quote found several leaking spots in the roof, which had to be fixed before they would install the insulation. It could not be repaired and we had to re-roof the house at a cost of $12000 when we wanted to only spend $2500 on insulation.

Lastly I want to touch on maintenance. Often it can be tempting for an investors to let maintenance slide, however with a smaller buyer pool that has choice, properties in good condition will be vacant for shorter periods and attract better quality tenants who will stay longer.

April 16 2019 | Investments and Positive Relationships and Property Management and Tenants | No Comments »

How to keep your tenants happy

Keeping your tenants happy makes being a landlord a lot less stressful. When the landlord and tenant have a good relationship, issues like late rentals and property damage are kept to a minimum. It takes some work to establish these relationships though. The worst thing you can do is simply ignore a tenant and leave them to their own devices. Here are some tips on how to keep your tenants happy.

Solve Maintenance Issues As Soon as Possible
How quickly a landlord responds to a maintenance issue is an indicator of how much they value the tenant and how they see their relationship with them. Show that you care by addressing the issue quickly and keeping tenants up to date on the progress. It is vital to respond quickly to issues that can affect how much tenants enjoy living in your property. Even if it takes a few days for the repair to take place, tenants are happy knowing the issue was addressed as soon as it was reported. Consider placing a follow-up call to further develop trust.

Regularly Inspect the Property
Regularly inspecting the property is an important step in ensuring the tenant is caring for the property. The rental agreement may set requirements for property inspections, and they could be legally required. These inspections also give tenants a chance to bring any maintenance issues to your attention. Inspecting the property on a regular basis shows the tenant that you care about the property and reinforces the conditions of the agreement between you and the tenant.

Maintain Positive Relationships with Tenants
Maintaining healthy and positive relationship with tenants helps ensure they stay cooperative during their time renting. Listening to their requests and considering them, as well as responding quickly to their concerns and queries, establishes a rapport between the two of you.

You should carefully consider any request to change the conditions of the lease. If you reject their requests then let them know why. There could be clauses in the law or rental agreement about dealing with requests. Establish times for routine maintenance and when any work should be carried out.

Consider Their Needs
If you want to sell the rental property you must consider the tenant’s lease. A change in ownership of a house or unit is stressful for tenants because it makes their future uncertain and could lead to their whole life changing. Give your tenant as much notice as you can that you are planning on selling the property, and help them to determine what they should do next.

Landlords may have the right to regularly raise their rents, so check the agreement to see what your rights are. Tenants aren’t happy about paying more rent, but it could be necessary to increase the rent in order to keep up with the costs of maintaining the property. If you are going to raise the rent, then once again you must let tenants know in advance. If tenants understand that a rent increase is coming – and the reasons for it – they may be more inclined to stick with you.

Conclusion
Keeping your tenants happy is about being realistic. Even a careful tenant could damage a property as accidents happen. Establish a rapport with your tenants and take care of them to keep them happy.

February 23 2019 | Inspections and Positive Relationships and Property Management and Tenants | No Comments »