by RELIANCE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Ltd
As you all will be aware the coronavirus pandemic has escalated and continues to have major consequences on all aspects of our society. From a property management perspective there are both economic and social ramifications that could impact your rental investment.
IMPACTS ON OUR LANDLORDS – From a property management perspective
Due to the enforced lock-down viewings are not to take place as they are not included in the essential services list. However virtual viewings through photos/videos may be possible.
The government has announced a freeze of all rent increases for the next 6 months. This includes any rent increases notices given to the tenants before the lock-down period which were to take effect during/after the lock-down period.
Tenant Protection Temporarily Increased
There are now limited reasons for which a tenant may be evicted.
These reasons include –
- Substantial damage to the property
- Assaults and threats to the landlord, landlords family or neighbours.
- Property left abandoned
- 60days behind in rent as opposed to the 21days.
These changes will remain in place for 3 months and may be extended. Any landlord/agent not adhering to these rules may face fines of up to $6500.
The government, banks and the reserve bank have announced a 6 month mortgage holiday scheme to take some pressure off landlords who have been impacted by the virus.
However a “mortgage holiday” does not mean you do not pay mortgage for 6months. Though you will not be making your mortgage repayments, your mortgage interest will continue to accrue, which means the amount required to be paid will remain the same and you will just be deferring the payments.
Inspections, Repairs and Maintenance
Routine inspections and maintenance do not come under essential services, therefore will be deferred till the lockdown period is over. Some insurance companies however require quarterly inspections to be carried out, therefore if a landlord is concerned they should contact their insurance company to see how they will be treating this matter. Urgent repairs may be carried out if related to essential services such as water, power, waste or gas.
Tenancy To Start/End During Lockdown
Travel is restricted to essential travel only (supermarket trips, doctors visits, etc) during the lockdown therefore moving house is not classed as an essential service. However if the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development suggest that if a tenant does need to move during the lockdown they do so by following the Ministry of Health guidelines and keep to their “bubble” and do not come in contact with anyone outside of their “bubble”.
The courts, tenancy tribunal and justice system in New Zealand are considered as an essential service. They will continue to operate and hold possible hearings via telephone or video-conference.