2018 – A year of opportunity for property investors?
Welcome to the fist of our 2018 monthly disbursement messages.
Healthy Homes Guarantee Act:
It shouldn’t be news to anyone involved in residential property rentals that the Labour Government have it in mind to ‘tidy up’ the rental market. Just how successful they are remains to be seen. One of their initiatives is the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act. Tenants advocacy groups have been vocal stating that the advent of the new Act will be a wake-up call for landlords and that landlords are concerned about it to the extent that they are exiting the market in their droves. The reality is quite different. Most landlords (and certainly the large majority) are in favour of providing a healthy and safe home for their tenants. They realise that in the long-term that will also translate to longer tenures by tenants and better rental returns. The Auckland Property Investors Association recently surveyed their members in terms of assessing the ‘favourability’ of various policies on the horizon. Here are the results, with the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act coming in as the 3rd most favourable.
Not surprisingly, the idea of a capital gains tax came in last:
1. Relaxation of current LVR restrictions
2. Longer fixed-term tenancies
3. Healthy Homes Guarantee Act
4. Extension of Bright Line Test
5. Limiting rent increases to once a year
6. Removal of negative gearing
7. Ring-fencing tax losses
8. Removal of 42-day notice to terminate
9. Debt-to-income restrictions
10. Capital gains tax
2018 – a year of opportunity?
Most of the investors we’ve spoken to recently believe that the market has stabilised, and the foreseeable future is reasonably predictable. Generally, they are all in agreement, rents are going to increase. It’s a no brainer – landlords are going to want to recoup the added costs involved with upgrading insulation, installing smoke alarms etc. and the best way of doing that is increased rents, which will over time result in increased yields. The landlords who have sold or are considering selling because of the implications of upcoming legislative changes are the ‘chicken little’ investors. Contrary to what they might think, the sky isn’t falling in – in fact there will be good investment opportunities throughout 2018 with an easing of the LVR’s, strong immigration, low interest rates and generally a good level of business confidence. So, the choice is yours. You can sell up and invest your money in the bank at 2% or (if you’re lucky) 3% or take advantage of the opportunities 2018 will present – and the probability of increased yields.
Licencing of Property Managers and Property Management companies:
There’s been speculation in the media recently about the compulsory licencing of Property Managers. Bring it on we say! Here at Walker Weir we make no bones about it – we whole heartedly support the licencing and regulation of the property management industry. All too often we hear of landlords who have missed out on receiving their rent from the property management company responsible for collecting it on their behalf. That, should be punishable by severe fines and expulsion from the industry. There’s no room in property management for cowboys. They give us all a bad name so the sooner they are forced out of the industry, the better.
Five things a Property Manager hates to hear:
1. “this house is so much cleaner than when I moved in” – and it isn’t!
2. “I thought because it’s only a puppy it would be OK”
3. “I keep the windows closed and the curtains pulled to stop the mould getting worse”.
4. “I spent more than I should have over Xmas and don’t have enough to pay my rent now, so you’ll just have to wait”
5. “I took the batteries out of the smoke alarm because they were flat and the beeping kept me awake at night”
Holiday Home rentals:
If you have just left the batch after your Christmas holiday and you’re looking to rent it out during the year then you need to be aware that there are different tax rules for ‘mixed-use holiday homes’. The tax rules come into play where:
1. You stay in the holiday home yourself sometimes
2. You rent it out to others sometimes
3. It’s not used for a total of 62 days or more during the tax year.
If you earn less than $4000 a year from renting it out then you don’t need to include this income in your annual tax return, but you won’t be able to claim any expenses either. If in doubt have a word with your accountant.
You should also talk to your insurer if you are renting out your holiday batch to make sure that you are fully covered. You may also need to consider public liability insurance to protect you if a guest gets hurt while staying at your property. Remember that decks more than a meter high need to be fenced, as do pools more than 400mm deep and if you provide kayaks or boats they need to be seaworthy and life jackets provided.
Q: At the end of a tenancy can I have the property professionally cleaned and pass the cost onto my tenants if they haven’t left the property clean enough?
A: Section 40 (1) (e) (iii) of the RTA states that on the termination of a tenancy the tenant shall leave the premises in a reasonably clean and reasonably (our emphasis) tidy condition. Landlords often struggle with what is reasonable and invariably have a higher standard of what constitutes ‘reasonable’ than the outgoing tenant. Strange that. The best way to approach this from a landlords point of view (or in our case from a Property Managers view) is to take a common sense approach and consider what an unrelated 3rd party would consider. If you still feel that the property needs additional cleaning to bring it up to a reasonable standard, then the services of a cleaner can be engaged. But be warned! If it ends up at the Tenancy Tribunal you may not get all of the cleaning costs back, or any at all if the adjudicator feels that the property was left reasonably clean at the end of the tenancy.
Mid-month – Thursday 15 February 2018.
Given the opinions expressed in parts of this email it’s important that we make it clear that the contents of this email are opinions and observations and made in good faith. We suggest that in all cases independent legal and financial advice is sought.
Regards from the hard-working team at Walker Weir.
Business OwnerFebruary 15th, 2018
There are many elements that will contribute to the success of your rental property, but choosing the right property manager is arguably the most important. Property managers are there for you whether you’re time poor, unsure of the property market or you just want to make your investment journey easier. But what should you look for in a property manager? Here’s our advice.
Locality Is the Key
The investment property landscape changes so much from region to region, so a local property manager is the key to success. That means local to where your investment property is, as you might not be investing in your own area.
Having local specialists on your side will make it easier to find the right tenants, as they understand the demographics of your neighbourhood. As well as this, they can offer tailored advice about when to raise the rent and other crucial decisions. Apart from this, local property managers simply make more sense from a practical point of view. Having a property manager almost on your doorstep will make them more responsive to your requests as well as the requests of your tenants – and a happy tenant is a long-term tenant!
Making the Switch Should Be Easy
The Auckland property market is highly competitive, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to property managers that you want the best service. With that in mind, investors should look for a property manager that makes switching to their services easy. A property management team may be excellent, but if it’s expensive and time-consuming to switch to their service then it may not be worthwhile. In many cases, smaller property management companies will have the agility and understanding to make the switch easy for you.
Pricing Your Property Correctly
Pricing your property correctly is essential to rental investment success and your property manager should be able to help you with this. It doesn’t matter how unique or desirable your property is – if it’s not priced correctly you will either be losing money through low rental income or a lack of interest.
Innovative approaches like Walker Weir’s Rent Tender system allows tenants to bid on your property based on an indicated price, with the highest and best-suited tenant being accepted. This ensures you’re receiving the most rental income possible without overpricing and scaring away tenants.
Can They Offer ‘Rent Income Guarantees’?
This is a major benefit but it’s worth going for the best when it comes to property management. A ‘Rent Income Guarantee’ would see the property manager pay the rent for a specified period if there are rental arrears during a tenancy. Not only is this a great guarantee, but it reflects the confidence of a property management company in their own service.
Based in Auckland, Walker Weir Property Management is the only company in the area to offer a ‘Rent Income Guarantee’. To learn more about this service and why you should choose us for your Auckland property management, call 09 972 1212 or contact us online today.February 1st, 2018