Winter time in Canterbury – as beautiful as the mountains are, covered in snow, the harsh elements can be quite a challenge for some people in keeping their property warm and dry. We continue our pitch about how best to keep properties warm and dry – quite surprising the number of people who don’t use their heatpumps properly – we ‘continually’ remind everyone to do so and why the extra cost to run them 24/7 is outweighed by the promise of a warmer drier, therefore healthier, home 🙂

The month of June was dominated by two matters concerning property management in New Zealand.
The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2) (the Bill) which was introduced to Parliament at the beginning of June (Tenancy Amendment Bill to address meth contamination, damage by tenants, and unlawful tenancies)

The Bill aims to address three main issues:

1. Tenant liability for damage to rental premises: The Osaki decision last year ruled that tenants are not liable for careless damage to rental premises. The decision created problems because landlords are left to bear the cost of their tenant’s careless damage, and tenants have little financial incentive to take care of rental premises. To address this, the Bill proposes that in relation to each careless act or omission by a tenant (or someone for whom the tenant is responsible) which causes damage to the premises, the limit of liability for the tenant is equivalent to the landlord’s insurance excess or 4 weeks’ rent applicable to the tenancy (if the Landlord is uninsured).

2. Meth contamination: The Bill introduces some measures to reduce the harmful effects of meth in rental premises. These include provisions that a landlord can enter the premises, on notice and between specified hours of the day, to test for contamination. The Bill also proposes termination rights for the landlord and tenant where the premises are contaminated, and makes it unlawful (with exemplary damages) for a landlord to provide premises for rent when they know the premises are contaminated.

3. Unlawful tenancies: The Bill also targets unlawful tenancies (e.g. unlawfully converted garages) and ensures the Tenancy Tribunal has jurisdiction to take enforcement action and make orders against landlords in breach of their obligations in this respect.

Secondly – there was the National Standard on Meth Testing and Decontamination
Standard for Testing and Decontamination of Meth-contaminated Properties Released
29 June 2017 the New Zealand Standard for The Testing and Decontamination of Methamphetamine-Contaminated Properties (NZS8150: 2017) was released.
The Standard will begin to provide clarity for real estate agents, property managers, vendors and members of the public around acceptable remedial levels, and testing and decontamination processes. Up until yesterday, there was no standard across the country for meth testing or decontamination, which has resulted in some scaremongering and misinformation for members of the public around these processes.
REINZ welcomes the Standard as it is a big step in the right direction towards certainty on how to test a property for meth and, how properties should be decontaminated

Another pressing matter that could become the next big challenge for the Property Management industry is the new changes in the Health and Safety at Work with regards to Asbestos. To read more on this matter click on the.

We will keep you updated on these events – as we have mentioned in previous newsletters – best practice would be to test your property for the presence of Meth before a tenant moves in and the day after they move out. This is the ONLY way to quantify who is responsible for the presence of Meth in your property, and by doing these tests, it will deter ‘would be’ users who may want to rent your property. People who are Meth inclined will only want to rent properties from private owners, where the likelihood of pre testing for Meth and thorough reference checking is unlikely. We would also remind you to check with your insurance company as to whether you are covered for meth use or manufacture in your property, and if so, what guidelines must be adhered to in order to prevent a claim being declined.

Introducing to the team – Kelly Lang – our new Business Development Manager. Kelly is very keen to speak with anyone and everyone looking to bring on properties for the team to manage. Feel free to give her a call on 033484149 or 021846162