APIA Blog

RSS Feed

Louise Benson: How to vet and on-board a first-time renter

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

IMAGE CREDIT: UNSPLASH

 

Most of us have been tenants at some stage in our lives, but there was always that first time. As property managers, working with first-timers requires flexibility and sometimes, creativity.

When an application has been received by someone completely new to renting this can prove challenging. We may only have the applicant’s parents or a disgruntled ex-partner as property references which are unlikely to provide an unbiased report of how they keep a home and whether rent payments were timely - information that is vital for moving forward with an application.

We all like to think we can sum people up and rely on our gut instinct, but we also need to assure our owners that the selected tenants will look after their investment and pay their rent on time. In this scenario employment and character references play a more important role. I would suggest a phone call to the employer with tailored questions, focussing on reliability, organisational skills, maturity, tidiness and presentation. Ask open questions that don’t allow for a 'yes' or 'no' answer. For example, “how would you describe her character”, “how reliable is she, has she had many days off” or “have you visited her house recently, how would you describe its condition”. These are quite invasive questions, but necessary given the restrictions we are working under. Lastly, a google search and scrolling through social media can also reveal a lot about your applicant.

From here the TPS or Tinz background checks covering police and credit history can be undertaken. If these checks reveal anything of concern, call the tenant and ask them to explain the details to you. The decision to continue or not is then up to you.

When you and the owner have settled on an applicant the tenant needs to be completely prepared for what is expected of them. A certain amount of information will be covered in the property advertisement with regards to rent and what is and is not included, however, the tenant obligations relative to that property are detailed in the tenancy agreement itself. The presenting and signing of the tenancy agreement must be done in person as this provides you the opportunity to go over each and every section. It is vital they understand their obligations pertaining to water, maintenance, lawns and damages. It is a good idea to use examples of situations e.g. keeping windows open for ventilation, using heat protection on benchtops, running through what can be put down waste disposals. Included in their take home information should be copies of the tenancy agreement, bond form and examples of watercare bills and invoices. Explaining how the watercare bill works is important, but allowing for retention of all this information and accepting they may forget as soon as they leave your office - it is recommended that you accompany the first watercare invoice with an email re-explaining how it should be paid. During this process an important discussion to be had is where the onus and responsibility lies with regards to maintenance. Convey that general maintenance will be on the owner but always recommend that they contact you immediately something breaks or is broken - the conversation should go something like this “please call me as soon as you can when something is broken, that way we can work together to resolve it and determine who will responsible for its repair”.

On move in day I would recommend you meet the first time tenant at the property. This way you can explain any peculiarities of the property i.e. where the water meter is located, how to set the alarm, how the appliances work etc. Together, take a walk through the property with the entry inspection report and point out issues of note that may be anything from wall damage, a stain on the carpet to a missing lightbulb. The tenant will be reassured that they will not be held responsible for these issues but also fully aware of the condition of the property and how it should be kept during the tenancy and when they vacate. You will have already discussed the 3 monthly inspections at sign up, but this is a good opportunity to reiterate what you will be hoping to see during the visits.

Happy, informed tenants will generally make our job a lot easier. When we prepare our tenants thoroughly, it helps rule out discord and confusion and can minimise disputes.

For more information please contact Louise Benson from Barfoot and Thompson Milford at l.benson@barfoot.co.nz.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Louise Benson

Louise is a property manager from Barfoot & Thompson Milford. 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Posts


Tags

market structure barfoot and thompson landlord rent arrears renovation Guest blog development government yield debt enforcement boarding house rent auckland council finance negotiation scotney williams shower dome rental market partners short-term rental property management meth contamination sublease Must know buyer's agent Must knows buying tenancy services income skill shortage sale and purchase property maintenance airbnb heater rta bond p lab Question and answer advice Property (Relationships) Act building kiwibuild data security Market report CCC anz RBNZ mortgage re agent Editor's Choice property apprentice subdivision trademe early termination mindset speculator tenant interest only RTAA 2019 reserve bank house prices trust management legal tax Kris Pedersen Mortgages and Insurance bad tenant maintenance worksafe heating holiday house warren buffett auckland How to watercare tenancy tribunal banking relationship covid-19 lvr rtaa2020 insurance cash-flow rta reform gluckman report tenancy issues personal growth winz sale and purchas bond form ring-fencing cgt investor Case study capital gain letting Investor story Q&A Sponsored post recycling equity ventilation housing affordability cat water bill fixed-term tenancy beginner investor principal and interest property rental wof Landlording first home buying market rent inspection education parry v inglis positive cash flow initio Jeff Bezos insulation warm up new zealand anti-social behaviour TCIT minor dwelling DTI equity rent increase meth asbestos will HHGA unitary plan off the plan wealth creation Investment tip CoreLogic commerce commission twg report termination Gluckman letting fee Tribunal case study election2020 HSWA khh Holler HHS nzpif clnz interest rates buying rules damage ird housing bubble LIM investment strategy business trespass election 2017 opes partners return ocr productivity television property cycle privacy property value Level 4 extractor fan ask an expert robert kiyosaki smoke alarm Standards New Zealand wins financial advisers act

Archive

Introducing Our Partners
Principal Sponsor - Kris Pedersen Mortgages & Insurance logo Gold Sponsor - Barfoot & Thompson logo Gold Sponsor - CoreLogic logo Property Apprentice logo The Insulation Warehouse logo The Renovation Team logo The New Zealand Property Investors' Federation logo
09 360 2376
info@apia.org.nz

The Tenancy Practice Service and TPS Credit Control work closely with the Auckland Property Investors' Association. Our vision of bringing helpful resources, documents and high quality services to Auckland Property Investors and Property Managers is shared by APIA, so its a partnership that works well. 

The Auckland Property Investors' Association is a great organisation for those who want access to advice and information from a range of industry experts and partners. 



Mathieu Holt- Managing Director, The Tenancy Practice Service & TPS Credit Control
Through the Association I found the channels and methods to fund the purchase of property I never dreamed about. Grant Brown

All round it has been one of those things Neil and I felt was really worthwhile belonging to. We have learned so much it has just built our confidence in what we are doing.

Janice Bieleski
I read two articles in the monthly magazine that saved me over $5,000. That is my membership fee for the next 26 years and I am sure I will learn a whole lot more! John Duncan
Fantastic organisation. The networking opportunities are brilliant and provide us with information and opportunities that cannot be obtained anywhere else. We learn something new at every meeting and we've been in this game for nearly 20 years. Pauline and Gyanen Kumar

I find the information obtained from various APIA meetings very useful in guiding my own property investment and rental management.  I also enjoy the networking opportunities with like-minded investors.  I am inspired by other investors’ success and find the more experiences and knowledge that I share with others, the more confident I become.  

Thanks to all APIA event organizers and administrators for your brilliant work. 

Stella Shao

I like talking to people and learning from their experience because it gives me the confidence to invest well. I think it is a knowledge thing. I now know I am doing things the right way.

Stephen Weatherall

My APIA membership has become a total success.

Every time I attend a monthly or regional meeting I come away with so many useful and positive tips that have added value to my property investments and management.

Not only that, the website is a great place for practical advice and useful information. It has now evolved into an important resource for my business.

Talk about value for money! The discounts I have been getting at Bunnings when I present my APIA membership card have more than paid for my annual subscription!

Tim Duffett, Plan A Investments Limited