Monday, March 21, 2011

Away for 21 days? – 1st April deadline to organise an agent

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 was amended on 1 October 2010. One of the amendments was to ensure tenanted properties were being looked after when the owners were overseas for more than 21 days. From 1st April, all owners who are out of New Zealand for more than 21 days must appoint an agent to liaise with tenants and get essential maintenance done. Failure to do so will be deemed an unlawful act and can incur a penalty of up to $1000 (See Section 16A(6) of the Residential Tenancies Act Amendments).

An agent can be anyone who is an adult and able to make decisions on your behalf, whether that is Aunt Patty, your brother Bart, or your friend Nelson, it is entirely up to you. Of course, you want that person to know what they are doing – anything they do that contravenes the Act is the same as you contravening the Act. If they say “sorry dear, we don’t allow children in this property” it will be you hit with $4000 fine for unlawful discrimination. If they enter the property without proper notice, you’ll be coping $1000 penalty. If they don’t have the property clean and tidy for the next tenant, you could be facing $3000. If they fail to lodge the bond, again, it will cost you, this time up to $1000. And what if they just want to keep popping around to make sure the tenants are comfy? If it’s a breach of tenant’s privacy, you’re facing a $2000 fine. As Homer would say, ‘Doh!’.

In the face of such steep penalties for doing the wrong thing, plus the risks of your relatives not knowing how to get the rent paid, or choosing tenants who will look after your property, doing inspections, and getting maintenance done properly, property management by suitably experienced property managers is darn cheap. When you need to go away, choose Rental Results to manage your properties and keep you on the right side of the law and your money in your pocket.

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