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Being a good landlord and a property manager is about avoiding common mistakes. Some of them are more costly than others. To save yourself from these headaches, read our 7 most common property management pitfalls.

1. Violating tenants' rights to quiet enjoyment

Once rented out a property becomes your tenants home. As a landlord, you need to take any reasonable steps not to violate their rights to privacy, comfort and peace. This means you can't simply come in for no reason, send tradespeople in for non-urgent repairs with no notice or bring prospective buyers to view the place without discussing this prior with your tenants. In nearly all cases, you need to send your tenants notice before entering the property.

When do landlords have the right to enter the property?

2. Misusing bond or failing to lodge it

If you choose to collect bond from your tenants, then you need to lodge it with Tenancy Services within 23 working days.

If the tenants are late on rent, choose to break the lease and leave early, you violate terms of a tenancy agreement, you can't simply decide to keep the entire bond to cover your losses. You will have to agree with your tenants on how to split the bond, go through the mediation process if necessary or apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to present your case and get the bond refunded (partially or in full)

3. Terminating rental agreements incorrectly

In most case, you need to give a termination notice to end your agreement. There is a precise list of ways to terminate the lease as a landlord. You can't simply ask your tenants to leave with short-notice or just because they fell behind on rent. Residential Tenancies Act 1986 sets out requirements as to how exactly you must prepare and deliver a notice to end a tenancy.

You cannot give notice to end a fixed-term tenancy early.

10 ways to terminate a tenancy agreement

4. Not addressing problems early and enforcing the terms of the agreement

Your tenant has a responsibility to pay rent on time, to look after the property and to follow the terms outlined in a rental agreement. Of course, everyone makes mistakes and forgets to pay rent once in a blue moon. But if tenants consistently fail to pay on time, disturb neighbours with too much noise or cause damage to the property, then it's important to be firm and follow through on any rules that you and tenants agree on. Make it a habit to contact the tenant when they are only a few days behind so you can tackle the problem before it gets out of hand.

It may be tempting to close your eyes to problems, but unreliable tenants can cost you a lot of time, money and peace of mind.

5. Ignoring your tenants

Although you don't want to overdo it with unnecessary phone calls and visits, you don't also want to make tenants feel ignored and forgotten. It is advisable that you check on your tenants and the condition of your property once in a while (quarterly inspections are recommended). Inspections is a great time to find out if everything's ok, if your tenants need anything from you and if there are any outstanding maintenance issue they have.

6. Not meeting the standards

The New Zealand Government has introduced some significant reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act in the last few years. Complying with these laws is mandatory for all the landlords. It is crucial to make sure that your property meets the latest standards. If it fails to do so, your tenants can make a complaint about the violation with the Tenancy Tribunal.

Smoke Alarm Requirements for Rental Homes
Minimum Insulation Requirements: are you compliant?
Healthy Homes Standards - How do they affect me?

7. Building personal relations with a tenant

It is important not to let your landlord-tenant relationship slide into a friendship. It is easy to slip out of a business frame of mind when your tenants are friends. It's harder to be firm with friends when they break the terms of the tenancy agreement, harder to stay less emotional about disputes, tougher to end their tenancy and to discuss constant late rent payments. Remember, you have a business to run. So you're a landlord first, friend second.


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