Five tips for landlords with rental properties

There are hundreds of thousands of rental properties scattered throughout New Zealand. It's important for landlords to gain an understanding of their rights and responsibilities so we've put together a few tips to help.

1. Doing your due diligence

If you’re about to purchase a rental, it's a good idea to do your due diligence and ask the owner or the agent if the property has been tested for drug contamination and ask to see the results. If no test has been carried out, you can get one done yourself. If you already own a rental, you could consider doing this type of test when you have a change of tenants, or during property inspections. There’s more information about this on the Tenancy Services website.

2. Protecting your investment

Your insurance policy will often set out landlord obligations which will help you protect your investment. A good place to start is by exercising reasonable care when choosing tenants and obtaining satisfactory references.

If you hold a Landlord Insurance policy with AA Insurance, you have the option to purchase ‘Extended landlord cover’. This option provides you with additional cover for situations that may arise such as loss of rent from a tenant being evicted or vacating without notice, malicious damage or theft, and contamination from illegal drug use. If you have purchased ‘Extended landlord cover’, there are additional policy conditions that apply, including monitoring rent arrears, completing regular internal and external property inspections and collecting bond. Check out our policy wording to see the full limitations of the cover, and the applicable conditions.

3. Staying on top of repairs and maintenance

The onus is on you to keep your rental home in good repair, ensure it’s secure and take all reasonable precautions and care to prevent loss occurring. This means conducting any necessary repairs in a timely fashion, providing and maintaining locks and other security mechanisms, as well as maintaining smoke alarms. Not sure where to place the smoke alarms? Then check out the Fire and Emergency website.

Landlords are required to have working smoke alarms installed in all residential rental homes, as well as insulation to keep the home warm in winter and cool in summer. For more details about what’s required of you as a landlord, visit Tenancy Services website.

4. Reviewing your cover

Make sure you have the right insurance for your circumstances. Loss of rent after an event and natural disaster cover is generally available under standard cover but check with your insurer for optional benefits. For example, AA Insurance provides Extended landlord cover which gives you additional cover and peace of mind if a tenant vacates without notice, is evicted, causes intentional damage or contaminates your rental home through the use, consumption, storage or manufacturing of illegal drugs.

5. Making a claim

If you need to make a claim, don’t delay. Storing up incidents to make a single claim once the tenants move out may mean the damage gets worse over time. Unless all the damage occurred at the same time or during the same event, you’ll need to make separate claims for each event, with one excess applying to each of these claims.

Any questions?

Now’s a great time to review your insurance. We recommend checking your details are up to date and ensuring the policy and cover you’ve chosen is right for you and your insurance needs.

If you have any questions about your insurance, need to update your AA Insurance policies or would like a quote, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re open from 8am to 8pm weekdays and from 8am to 6pm weekends and public holidays.

This blog provides general information only and is not intended to be a recommendation or personalised financial advice. Excesses, terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply to AA Insurance Limited’s policies. Please check the policy wording for details of cover. The provision of cover is subject to the underwriting criteria that apply at the time.

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