With the Residential Tenancies Act Amendment Bill no 2 now passed second reading, it is worthy of all landlords to take note of the implications and be proactive / consider the future. If the proposed changes come into effect and the rental property is not code compliant/ not legally permissible / contaminated above MOH guidelines with Meth related residues landlords may risk:
Part or full repayment of rent + a fine (up to $4000) for acting unlawfully + an order to fix (upto $50,000) & the landlord may not have any recourse for damages done to the property (i.e. tenant has moving out party and causes damage, landlord cannot make any claim).
As a landlord you are wise to start preparing that if these changes come into effect your property is lawfully rentable. Protect yourself for the future, and be confident that your rental property is lawful and you are acting lawfully by:
Get your property professionally meth tested prior to renting to ensure it is legally habitable (and do it in between every tenancy to ensure it stays meth free or the guilty party is held accountable). The cost for meth testing varies, as a range you are looking at $179-489+ GST and further room by room test may be needed. We stress to landlords, that we strongly encourage testing especially when there is faith that the house has never been occupied by users. BEWARE: ensure you're insured and be prepared for the worst. Keep in mind you can't knowing rent a contaminated house.
If there's any risk that your property is not code compliant start planning to take the steps required to get it up to scratch or at the least take the necessary steps so your not at risk of losses. Where this comes into play in the Auckland market will mostly (from our experience) be with regards to granny flats and secondly unconsented alterations like wall alterations or enclosed decks. Most of you will have some idea of where your property stands, but if not then order a LIM report (click here for Auckland Council LIM info), and or evaluate your property as it stands against the consented plans. If you don't have the plans, order a property file (from Auckland Council) to establish exactly what's on file. Where required there are options to move on with a certificate of acceptance or a safe and sanitary, but my experience has been that Council is taking a much harder line on these now as opposed to a few years ago.
When our property managers conduct a rental appraisal for you we are relying on the your assertion that the property is lawful and livable, and in the future more stress will be put on this.
The current proposed amendments will make clear some further landlord legal responsibilities, but it will bring some much needed positive changes for making tenants accountable for their damages. Parties have till early August 2017 to make submissions, so if you're interested or want to know more you can click here.
If you are seeking a well considered rental appraisal from experienced property managers in Auckland, please feel welcome to get in touch with the team at Chase Property Management.