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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What Are Your Rights When Your Tenants Don’t Pay Up?

Renting out residential property is a great way to make some extra money, pay your mortgage off faster and build an investment nest egg. It can cause real frustration, however, when your tenant fails to pay rent on time.

To avoid costly delays, you should know the steps to take that will allow early intervention to either get the rent payments back on track or to bring the tenancy to an end.

Early intervention is key when it comes to dealing with rent payment problems. Your tenancy agreement should clearly state how rent is to be paid and when. You should also keep and monitor rent records so you will know straight away if your tenant falls behind in payments. If your tenant does miss a payment the first step is to contact them to find out the reason for that missed payment and to make a payment plan. If your tenant doesn’t pay the overdue rent, below is a guide to help fix the problem.

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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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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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Over The Fence

Further implementation of bobby calf regulations

Last year new regulations for young calves were introduced and took effect from 1 August 2016; we covered this in Rural eSpeaking, Winter/Spring 2016.

On 1 February, a new regulation came into force; bobby calves are to be fed at least once in the 24 hours before slaughter (a reduction from 30 hours).

Further regulations are to take effect this year including:

  • Proposed 1 August 2017: Suitable shelter will have to be provided for young calves before and during transportation, and at points of sale or slaughter, and
  • Proposed 1 August 2017: Loading and unloading facilities will have to be provided and used when young calves are transported for sale and slaughter. The facilities must be designed so that a calf is able to walk on or off the transport.

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Good Husbandry

Give it some thought when buying or selling

Agreements for the sale and purchase of rural land generally contain a ‘good husbandry’ clause. This clause is often inserted into the agreement as a ‘boiler plate’ or standard clause by real estate agents when preparing contracts. We discuss why it’s better to tailor-make this clause to suit each transaction.

The standard clause is often worded along these lines:

From the date of this Agreement until settlement, the Vendor shall continue to farm the property in a good and husband-like manner and in accordance with approved good farming practice in the district and shall neither overstock nor under-stock the property, nor do anything to impoverish the soil nor remove or damage any improvement or fixtures on the property.

However, both a seller and a buyer should give careful thought to the wording of this clause and its implications; it should be tailored to suit the particulars of any given transaction. This is particularly so for transactions where settlement is some time out from when the agreement was signed. It also needs to relate to properties where specific types of farming are being carried out.

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Providing accommodation to your farm staff?

It’s not unknown for us to receive a shocked look from farmer clients when we advise them that they are subject to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 regarding the accommodation they are providing to their staff.

These types of accommodation provisions are classed as ‘service tenancies’. They are largely subject to the same rules as any other residential tenancy with a few minor exceptions such as rent in advance and termination notices.

Farmer is working on farm with dairy cows

As an employer or farm owner, you must comply with the same standards as any other landlord and you can be subject to a Tenancy Tribunal hearing if you fail to comply.

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Property Briefs: Ovens, Rent Reviews and Connection Services

The oven doesn’t work – what to do?

Nothing is worse than planning a celebratory dinner in your new home and finding the oven doesn’t work. How can you ensure this doesn’t happen?

The last thing you think about when making an offer for a property is the condition of the chattels (like the oven). These are listed in the agreement and are often breezed over. When the oven doesn’t work when you go to use it, there isn’t much that can be done if you haven’t thought about it when you signed the agreement.

Angry young woman, blowing steam coming out of ears

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P-contamination in Residential Property

Every day more Kiwis are learning that they have been living in methamphetamine (P)-contaminated properties. Discovering you have purchased a contaminated property can be financially, mentally and physically devastating for you and your family. This article looks at P-testing and the risks if you suspect the property is P-contaminated and nothing is done.

When purchasing a property there is a lot you should consider. Purchasers are usually advised to include a builder’s report, Land Information Memorandum (LIM), obtaining finance and insurance on the agreement’s standard conditions. Many purchasers overlook the possible need for P-testing when buying a property. Since 2002 the use of P has skyrocketed, and it’s not wise to presume that properties in well-respected areas are safe. P-users come from many different walks of life.

pcontamination

Properties where P has been produced or regularly used are exposed to numerous chemicals which are absorbed by different surfaces and structural features. P-contamination within properties is rarely visible and it can cost huge sums to decontaminate.

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