Property Briefs

Warmer homes for Kiwis

Low-income homeowners or homeowners in low-income areas could be eligible for the new government grant to assist in keeping their homes warm in winter.

On 1 July 2018 the new four-year government program, Warmer Kiwi Homes, came into effect. Under this initiative the government will cover up to two-thirds of the cost of underfloor and ceiling insulation or, if you have a concrete floor, ground vapour barriers. Warmer Kiwi Homes only applies to homeowners who have a Community Services Card, however, funding help no longer stretches to landlords.

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Guiding your offspring into flatting

Going flatting for the first time is an exciting step for your adult children. They get to live with people their own age and you have your freedom. How can they make the most of this new-found independence with the least risk to them?

Residential tenancy agreements

Flat leases are really ‘residential tenancy agreements’. Agreements should be in writing, however, an unwritten agreement can sometimes be enforced. A written agreement makes the obligations clear for both a tenant and their landlord. Your child and their flatmates should talk with their landlord about what the agreement contains. You should remind them to read the agreement through before it’s signed – no one wants nasty surprises.

Residential tenancies can be for a fixed term or ‘periodic’. Fixed term means that the tenant rents the property for a fixed time such as 12 months. This means rent must be paid for the full term, even if the flatties go home for the university holidays.

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Is your rental safe and healthy?

Penalties for landlords dragging the chain

New laws came into effect on 1 July 2016 that require landlords to make their properties safe and healthy for tenants. These new laws provide some lead time for properties to be brought up to standard; they will apply to all rented properties from 1 July 2019. Will your rental property meet the new standard?

A recent Tenancy Tribunal decision shows that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is not shy of showing its teeth to ensure that tenants have safe and healthy homes by complying with the health and safety amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. The Residential Tenancies (Smoke Alarms and Insulation) Regulations 2016 outline requirements for rental properties, including underfloor and ceiling insulation, and requiring smoke alarms within three metres of each bedroom.

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Property Briefs

Current tenants selling their business – what it means for a landlord

If you are a commercial building owner, you will at some point come across a situation where your current tenant wants to sell their business. Tenants often forget to talk to their landlord about them consenting to the new business owner.

When a business is sold, the current tenant is obliged to seek the landlord’s consent to assign the lease to the incoming business owner. The landlord usually has 10 days to approve the new tenant.

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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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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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