While most property managers are well versed in the intricacies of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), the nature of the beast is such that it can strike fear into anyone summoned. Needless to say, the chance to avoid tribunal is welcome and some would suggest, easy to do.
However even the most competent landlords can find themselves on the wrong side of an adjudicator. Here then is everything you need to know when it comes to keeping out of tribunal.
Tenants nowadays are more educated on the RTA and are familiar with the obli-gations of landlords. There is a common misconception that tenants are happy to live just anywhere; tenants want warm, safe, comfortable homes to live in.
After all, they are paying a increasingly high amount of rent each year. By sticking to the RTA, landlords limit the chanc-es of appearing in tenancy tribunal. Most landlords are switched onto the basic aspects of the RTA. The less com-mon aspects however, can prove to be a jungle for those who have not navigated their way through them before.
Section 30 Landlord to keep records
(1) dictates- “Every land-lord under a tenancy to which this Act applies shall keep or cause to be kept proper business records showing:
- all payments of rent paid by or on behalf of the tenant, sufficient to enable the landlord to comply within a reasonable time with any request made by the tenant under section 29(3) and;
- any amount by way of bond paid by or on behalf of the tenant on or after 1 May 1996.
1A) The records must be kept for 7 tax years after the tax year to which they re-late.” One of many less known intricacies in the RTA, the fine for breaching this section is $200. While this obviously isn’t extortionate, it can create unnecessary stress and is something that landlords shouldn’t be getting tripped up on.
In the wake of the recent rental crisis in Wellington, many tenants are conscious that good quality properties are like gold dust and welcome the chance to extend their lease where possible. The key to managing tenants, whether they are good or bad, is effective and frequent communication.
Principled negotiation is a must. If the tenants feel as though you are overbearing, they may feel you are in breach of Section 38 Quiet enjoyment, which prevents the landlord from interrupting their use of the home outside of the routine inspections.
On the other hand, if tenants feel that you are negligent, they can be less likely to stay or consider extending their tenancy and may also be less inclined to maintain the property to a high standard. Good quality tenants are one of the biggest assets of any landlord or property manager. Effectively managing the relationship through good communication is be imperative.
Communicate around inspection times, the findings of your inspections, planned maintenance, repair works, and notice to sell are some of the key communication points throughout a tenancy.
Managing property and tenants can be a minefield for the inexperienced or oblivious landlord. The key is to do your Tenancies Act homework, communicate well and at all times, remember the goal is to stay away from tribunal.
Property managers nationwide are skilled in all of these areas and the industry as a whole is becoming more tightly regulated.
If you or anyone you know is in need of any advice on managing a tenant or a property, call Tommy’s Property Management today.