The nuts and bolts of good property management.

By | Landlord, Tenant

Property Selection

• When you shortlist a property to buy, ask a real estate professional if it will be easy to rent, whether it has the facilities that tenants look for in a property and if it’s in the right location. Most importantly, ask yourself if push came to shove, would you live there yourself?

Independent and Fair Market Rent Assessment

• Get an independent rental appraisal from someone who is not involved with the sale of the property.  This will form a solid basis for your financial decisions.
• A realistic rental appraisal is the key to fixing a fair market rent.
• A fair market rent will attract good tenants and enable you to rent the house quickly.
• When you charge a fair rent, tenants stay long term, you minimise vacancies and maximise your return on investment.

Attractive Photos and Advertising

• Empty rooms do not make attractive photos. As far as possible, use photos taken when the house was furnished.
• Write copy that highlights the best features and benefits of living in the house. Try to paint a pretty word picture. This pre-disposes a prospective tenant to view the property more favourably, when they come to the viewing.

Prompt Response to Enquiries

• Respond to all tenant enquiries the same day and schedule enquiries as soon as possible.
• Get the maximum number of prospective tenants through the house and find good tenants quickly.

Present the Home in the Best Way Possible

• If you have to show a house which is still occupied, give the occupants sufficient notice to tidy up. Take as many prospective tenants through at the same time and limit the viewings to one or two a week, so as to minimise inconvenience to the current tenants. Tell them that if the house is presented well at the first viewing there is a good chance you might not need to have a second viewing.
• If a house is vacant, try and arrange viewings to suit the convenience of prospective tenants. Schedule viewings in the evenings so people who work during the day, can attend them.
• If the house needs work done that might put off prospective tenants, make sure that these are done quickly, so that the house is presented in the best condition possible.

Robust Vetting of Tenant Applications

• Make prospective tenants complete an Application To Rent form if they are interested.
• A copy of the form can be downloaded from the Contact section of this website.
• The form is designed in a way that discourages tenants with poor tenancy records from applying.
• Once a completed form is received along with photo IDs and proof of income, call and speak to previous landlords and work referees to get as much information as possible.
• Listen to what your gut tells you, but be conscious of your own bias or prejudice.
• Do a credit check to make sure that they have a clean credit history.
• This process ensures a 99% rate of success in finding good tenants, who will pay their rent regularly, stay long term and keep the house in good order.
• The process actually starts with an independent and fair market rent assessment.

Minimising Vacancies

• Our goal is to have zero vacancy in our Landlord’s properties.
• We are normally able to get a new tenant within the 3 weeks period after the current tenant gives their notice to vacate.
• We achieve this by pegging the rent at it’s fair market value, attractive advertising, treating prospective tenants with due courtesy, making it easy for them to view and apply and speedily processing applications we receive.

Pre-empt Disputes with Effective Communication

• Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice show that over 19,000 disputes were heard in 2016 at the Tenancy Tribunal.
• A 2012 survey of Property Investors Federation members showed on average they lose $2042 in tenancy disputes, over and above any bond they received.
• We prefer to pre-empt disputes rather than waste our time and our Landlord’s money. We start by making sure that our advertising is clear and accurate, not misleading.
• Both Landlords and Tenants are advised of each other’s rights and obligations under the Tenancies Act and other applicable legislation.
• We draft and execute comprehensive and clear Tenancy Agreements.
• We treat everyone with respect and as far as possible use persuasion and reason to resolve disputes.
• We have been to the Tenancy Tribunal only 4 times in the last 5 years.

Preparing the House for a New tenancy

• We do our very best to that ensure our tenants get a well maintained and clean property. That sets the tone in terms of what our expectations are of the tenant.
• We prepare a detailed entry inspection report with photos.
• A copy of the report is given to the tenant. They know we have a record of the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy, which will be compared to the condition of the property at the end of the tenancy, when their bond refund will be processed.

Monitoring Rent Receipts Everyday

• We take rent defaults seriously and take prompt action for two reasons.
• Firstly because, most landlords rely on the regular receipt of rent to make their mortgage payments.
• Secondly because if we take prompt action to follow up with the tenant, it’s easier for them to make up a week’s missed rent than two or three weeks’ missed rent.
• We have a very efficient tech based system to monitor rent receipts and identify defaults on a daily basis.
• We make sure our tenants know very early on, that if they do not remedy the default quickly, they will have to find somewhere else to live.

Trust Account and Landlord Payments

• We maintain a separate Trust Account into which we receive rent
• We use a very efficient cloud based accounting system which enables us to keep very accurate and up to date accounting records.
• Rent are correctly allocated and payments to Landlords are made without any delays or errors.
• A monthly statement is sent to all Landlords on the first working day of every month.
• A year-end summary is sent to all landlords on 1st of April every year or if that is a bank holiday, then on the first following working day.

Regular Inspections and Reports to Landlords

• We carry out routine inspections at each of our Landlord’s properties once in three months.
• Routine inspections serve to keep on top of repairs and maintenance issues.
• It also serves to keep tenants on top of their obligations to keep the house clean and tidy.

Property Maintenance

• We have a list of expert contractors and tradespersons to attend to any kind of maintenance issues that may arise.
• We assess what repairs are required and define the scope of work, get quotes when required, send out works orders, make sure work is completed to a professional standard and in a timely manner, process invoices for work done and make payments.
• We keep Landlords informed about compliance issues such as smoke alarms and insulation and upgrades such as security measures, ventilation and heating.
• We help Landlords to budget for long term maintenance such as renovations so that their properties do not get run down over time.

Maintain Tenancy, Maintenance and Financial Records

• We use the best property management system available, which helps us to store information for as long as required and easily retrieve it whenever required.
• We can produce any kind of historical report in respect of any tenancy, property, owner or creditor on demand.
• Our Landlords can easily access records such as statements, invoices, inspection reports in respect of their properties through our online portal, from anywhere at any time.