Rumble in the Jungle?

Posted by Jack Vale on November 21, 2017 12:17:00 PM NZDT
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Almost a year on from the Kaikoura earthquake, we were given a timely reminder that Wellington sits on one of New Zealand’s major fault lines.


A 4.8 shake in the Cook Strait was enough to remind us all that we should always be prepared. ☠️

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Earthquakes have a funny way of putting everyone on edge. The memory of car parks coming down, streets being shut off and the disruption the quake caused is all too fresh in the mind for some.

While most people are prepared themselves, it is thought that a large number of landlords and property investors do not have a plan for their rental property post an earthquake. We take a look below at what you should have in place when it comes to protecting your investment in the event of an earthquake. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, everyone’s first instinct is to look after themselves.


While you are trying to look after your family and make sure you are safe and your own home hasn’t incurred any damage, the last thing you want is your tenants ringing you. 🔕




Of course, it is important to be available for them, but if you and your tenant have an agreed plan of action post an earthquake or any type of natural disaster for that matter and they are educated on this process, there is no reason that immediate issues cannot be taken care of by the tenant.

Providing your tenant with numbers to call in a crisis such as plumbers and electricians, will allow them to help minimise damage to your property in the event of emergencies such as burst waterpipes or problems with live electrical cabling.


Of course, in the event of a major earthquake, tradespeople are unlikely to be available. 🛠️

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Making sure that the tenant knows where the fuse board and the water toby are will also help minimise the damage your property may incur until such a time as the problem can be fully resolved.

Most landlords in New Zealand will also want to look after their tenants. Making sure that your tenant is aware of their local hospitals, civil defence evacuation points, relevant council phone numbers and which social media outlets offer valuable information in the event of an earthquake will make them feel much more secure.


Even consider creating a survival kit and storing this somewhere easy to access at your investment property for your tenants. 🏥



Your tenants will value having a landlord who looks after them and consequently treat your property better; it will also offer peace of mind for you, knowing that your tenants are aware of how to keep safe.

Of course, the ramifications of an earthquake go much further than the short-term damages and safety concerns. Long term, property can become uninhabitable, or surrounding buildings could affect your tenancy.


A perfect example would be the Maison Cabriole apartment complex following last year’s Kaikoura quake. 📈


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While the apartment complex itself was structurally fine, the neighbouring car park was not. This caused the apartment complex to be evacuated, for what was, at the time, only meant to be a number of weeks at most. This quickly became around four months.

As a landlord, the tenants in that property were not liable for any rent while they could not live in the building. Likewise, because the building was deemed uninhabitable, under section 59A of the Residential Tenancies Act, the tenant can give notice to leave the property with just two days of written notice.

As a landlord, both of these scenarios can leave you out of pocket. While the tenant is not obligated to pay rent to you while they cannot live in the building, the same cannot be said for the mortgage and rates on the property.

As a landlord, it is extremely important to ensure that you are protected from this.


The small yearly outlay of a LANDLORD INSURANCE POLICY can cover you in the event of an earthquake resulting in a loss of rent.



It is pretty clear to see that earthquakes can cause plenty of disruption in the world of property investment. Having a robust plan that both you and your tenant are aware of can help put your mind at ease during a stressful time. You can protect yourself from a loss of rent, confusion and damage to your property.

Tenants can feel safe and secure in your property and will value you as a landlord. For just a small amount of effort ahead of time, you can save yourself a wealth of time and stress down the line.

We have put together a list of useful emergency numbers and emergency hubs for people located in the wellington region. Print it out and pass it onto your tenants. Please visit our blog to find out more.

If you need any advice on developing an effective earthquake strategy for your investment property, call Jack Vale on 04 979 6363

Jack Vale

Business Development Manager

04 381 8604

Topics: insurance, earthquakes, civil defence, emergency plan, landlord insurance