With Alert Level 4 restrictions put into place in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the way property owners and landlords manage their portfolio has been interrupted. As rental property landlords and managers are required to self isolate along with most of the country, the way properties are managed has had to move online or be postponed until after the lockdown period.
How will I inspect my investment property?
Under the new guidelines issued by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, property managers will not be able to undertake routine property inspections in person. You are also unable to have face-to-face contact with your tenants. As they are not considered essential services, they can only be done online through video or photos. Urgent maintenance can still be carried out if it relates to essential services such as power, water, waste and gas. However routine maintenance should be deferred until after the lockdown ends.
How will I find new tenants?
Property managers are unable to conduct rental viewings when properties become available to rent. However, we are still able to hold virtual house tours and inspections online. We can film a 3D walk through of your property and list that video alongside your property listing online, send it in an email or upload it to a streaming service such as YouTube or Facebook. Another form of digital inspection we can use is a live stream. We can use a platform such as Sykpe, FaceTime or Zoom, or a streaming service such as YouTube or Facebook, to engage with prospective buyers in real time. Using live streaming services allows us to answer questions from viewers in real-time.
Do tenants still pay rent?
Yes, however there is now an initial freeze on rent increases during the Covid-19 period, until September. From March 26, tenancies will not be able to be terminated for an initial period of three months, regardless of when notice was provided. Tenants will still be able to terminate their tenancy as normal, if they wish. At the end of these initial periods, the government will evaluate whether they need to be extended.
When can tenants move in?
New guidelines issued by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand outline that tenants are unable to move into or out of properties during the lockdown period. Travel is currently restricted to essential travel only, such as a trip to the pharmacy or supermarket, so moving house will need to wait until the Alert Level 4 restriction is lifted.
What if I want to move back into the property during lockdown?
The current law states a landlord must give 42 days’ notice if an owner or their immediate family wish to move into the property for their own use. Under the proposed changes, this would increase to 63 days’ notice.
While some aspects of property management will need to wait until the level 4 lockdown is lifted, some can still take place online.