Over the Fence

Health and safety legislation sentencings expected

There are a number of developments in health and safety expected later this year. These include the first sentencings under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 that are due to be released. As well, WorkSafe is expected to launch its Health and Safety Improvement Performance Toolkit. We will continue to monitor this and update you in the next edition of Rural eSpeaking due in summer.

 

Judgements of rural interest

Farmers unsuccessful in their claim against rural contractor

In May this year the High Court released its judgement in the case of A P and A W Hughes Limited v Lyall.[1] In 2014 Allan Lyall was contracted by A P and A W Hughes Limited to harvest a pea and barley crop for silage. When the silage was opened for feeding, which was three months after harvest, it was found to be in poor condition. The farmers attempted to sue the contractor for $300,000 worth of damage to the silage crop seeking compensation for the loss of winter feed.

The High Court found that the contractor used the skills expected of a reasonably competent silage contractor to implement the fall-back option of cut rake and chop that was agreed to by the farmers at the time of harvest. Despite this, soil was still incorporated in the silage by this process resulting in a loss of silage quality. The judge found the silage was poor quality because the crop was over-matured when it was harvested and this was not the contractor’s fault; it was simply the consequence of adopting an option agreed to by the parties to address the circumstances.

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Fire Hazards

Look after your property

Four years ago we published an article about the risk of fire in the rural sector and the consequences of not holding appropriate insurance cover (Rural eSpeaking, Issue 12, Winter–Spring 2013). The number of rural fires throughout the country seems to be increasing each year.

Gisborne fire

Recently Stuff reported on a case in Gisborne[1] where the Gisborne District Council was found by a judge to have acted negligently by “failing to address a fire hazard on its block of land” when a fire began on the land and caused damage to the neighbouring sawmill owned by Double J Smallwoods Limited. The judge ordered the council to pay Double J Smallwoods’ owners more than $875,000 in damages for the loss caused by the fire, which had occurred some seven years before.

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Up in the Air: Using your drone

The use of drones is no longer limited to government agencies, technical gurus or the super wealthy. The market has been flooded with drones that are reasonably priced and are easy to use. These high-tech pieces of equipment are, however, bound by Civil Aviation Rules. In this article, we explore what rules there are around their use.

Drone technology allows a pilot to film and photograph from the sky allowing an aerial view that was once only available through the use of planes, helicopters or satellites. More and more businesses are using drone technology to assist them. Drones have been used in the agricultural sector to aid crop and stock inspection and, in August last year, Domino’s Pizza successfully delivered a pizza by drone.

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A Helping Hand for First Home Buyers

Options for parents to help

It’s every Kiwi’s dream to own their own quarter-acre share of paradise. Unfortunately for many young people today, not only are the quarter-acre sections fast disappearing into multi-complex developments, but it’s also becoming harder than ever before with an ever-rising property market.

Every time you turn on the news, we hear something about the housing unaffordability in Auckland. Those south of the Bombay Hills start to get a bit glassy-eyed when listening to this on repeat. However, since the government’s introduction of the ‘LVR’ rules in October 2016 aimed at improving affordability in these markets, we must pay attention as all of New Zealand is affected.

The LVR explained

The loan-to-value ratio (LVR) is a measure of how much a lender will lend against a mortgaged property compared with the value of that property. Borrowers with LVRs of more than 80% (that’s less than 20% deposit) are often stretching their financial resources. As well, they are more vulnerable to an economic or financial shock, such as a recession or an increase in interest rates.

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Property Briefs

Hidden titles

If you or a member of your family have been granted a protection order under the Domestic Violence Act 1995 you can apply to the Registrar-General of Land under s108 of the Act to hide the information held about you on the Land Register which may otherwise disclose your whereabouts.

In practice this means that no-one can then search for your title information without your consent. The hidden title direction lasts for five years unless the protection order is discharged earlier; and it can be revoked at any time if your circumstances change.

Co-owners of the property must consent to your application as their details will also be concealed.

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Making the Most of Your Agreement to Lease

An agreement to lease is an agreement between a landlord and tenant of commercial property. It gives the parties an opportunity to record their leasing arrangements before they are formalised in a deed of lease.

There are many details to be worked through between parties to a lease. The agreement to lease should set out most of the details between the parties so when it comes to signing the deed of lease there is no confusion or discrepancy.

What should be included?

The agreement to lease needs to clearly identify the parties to the agreement and the premises to be leased.

In addition, it should record the annual rent, any reviews of the annual rent, the term of the lease, any renewals of the lease as well as a commencement date and the details of any guarantors required.

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Property Briefs

Grants available to insulate rental properties

Recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 require all rental properties to have ceiling and underfloor insulation meeting a set standard, where reasonably practicable, by 1 July 2019.

A limited number of grants (for 50% of the cost) are available through Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes, on a first-come-first-served basis for rental properties occupied by low-income tenants and are not owned by a government agency. The criteria are:

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Airbnb

Key tax considerations

Becoming an Airbnb host sounds like the perfect way to fund some overseas travel for yourself and rent out your home while you are away.

The popularity of online booking platforms such as Airbnb, BookaBach and Holiday Homes has grown significantly over the past few years. They are seen as easy for property owners to market and rent their property to the end user, and it turns idle holiday homes or spare bedrooms into income earning assets. BookaBach currently has more than 12,200 holiday rentals and Airbnb has 15,000+ hosts. Airbnb hosts’ average annual income in 2016 was $3,800.

AirBNB

If you want to become an Airbnb host, you’ll need to consider your income tax situation, GST and your ownership structure…

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Sharing a Driveway

Know your rights and obligations

Many episodes of Neighbours at War told of disputes regarding shared driveways. Whether you currently own a property or you’re in the market to buy a property with a shared driveway, it pays to know your rights and obligations to ensure you and your neighbour won’t be featuring on the next episode.

Right of way easement

The most common shared driveway is formed by an easement, granting ‘A’ the right of way over ‘B’ (or part of ‘B’). The rights and obligations of each party will be found in the easement certificate or instrument registered on the titles to the respective properties. It’s likely those easement instruments will refer to the Land Transfer Regulations 2002 and Schedule 5 of the Property Law Act 2007, which set out the implied rights and covenants that apply in right of way easements.

Both the Regulations and the Act allow the grantee and the grantor (and their agents, invitees, tenants and so on) the right to pass and re-pass over the easement area on foot, or with vehicles, machinery, plant and stock. The parties must repair any damage that they cause and they must keep it clear of obstructions such as parked vehicles or wheelie bins. If your neighbour parks on the right of way but you can still get past, then they may not be in breach of the implied rights.

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Buying off the Plans

The advantages, pitfalls and the Kawarau Falls case

If you live in one of New Zealand’s cities, it’s likely that you’ve noticed a multitude of brand-new apartments, terraces, and town houses popping up in your area. You may have decided that you too, want to secure one of these brand-new properties as an investment or as a home. What do you need to know before taking the plunge?

Many people choose to buy these kinds of properties ‘off the plans.’ Developers make building plans and specifications available to prospective purchasers and sell the properties ahead of construction as a method of convincing the bank to fund their project.

To secure one or more of these properties for yourself, you would need to enter into an agreement where you agree to pay a deposit (usually 5%–10 % of the developer’s asking price for the property) and then pay the balance on completion.

Before entering into any agreement with a developer, you should be aware of the advantages, and pitfalls, of buying off the plans. We have set out some below, but they are by no means exhaustive.

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