As the country comes out of a full lock-down, Level-2 has brought back slight normality for our property management team right across Taranaki. Things aren't back to normal by any means, however, we are now able to operate further sections of our business to help ease the stress of both landlords and tenants. As we now start to transition into Level-2 and eventually Level-1 many questions remain on how rental properties can be managed, and the landlord's responsibilities.
So what restrictions are still in play? What can be done and when can it be done? Below we will outline which aspects of property management will be operating at the different alert levels.
As a profession, we are united against COVID-19 and will do our utmost to protect our workers, landlords, tenants, as well as the wider community. Like the rest of New Zealand, our goal is to eliminate the risk of transmission by incorporating the following into the way we go about our day to day business.
Here are some of the measures we're putting in place:
- Maintenance work can be carried out at this time with tradesmen following recommended mask wearing, sanitising, social distancing and contact tracing guidelines.
- Our property managers will be limiting physical interaction with and between customers. This means that where possible, our team will continue to communicate through email or phone calls in preference to face to face meetings with landlords and tenants.
- We will implement mask wearing and a 2-metre distance between workers, landlords and tenants during inspections, viewings and necessary meetings.
- Our property managers will wear masks and disposable gloves at all viewings and inspections. If a property manager enters a rental property, when finished, they will place used gloves in a rubbish bin and wash their hands immediately after handling these items.
- If any surfaces have been touched especially during an inspection or open home our team will wipe down any surfaces with disinfectant before they leave.
Practising Good Hygiene:
- If a property manager is showing signs of a cold or flu they will not carry out any visits. The same goes for tenants, if they are showing signs of being unwell during an inspection or a viewing.
- Before an inspection or viewing takes place the property manager will ask all individuals about their current health status.
- Hand sanitiser will be provided to anyone who enters or leaves a viewing of a home. It will contain at least 60% alcohol.
- If anyone is entering a rental property for a home viewing they will be asked to sign in using a QR code and to provide their contact information on a register for tracing purposes. This will include their name, address, contact number as well as the time and date they entered and left the property. Information will be kept safely by McDonald Real Estate for 2 months or longer if required by the Ministry of Health.
What property management activities are operating under Alert Level-2:
As the rules are changing on a constant basis we are also adapting to make sure business is carried out safely and under the governments' rules. Below is how we are currently operating under alert Level-2. Of course we will be doing our best to operate as contactless as possible.
This information has been provided by REINZ as follows:
Rental Appraisals and Listings
Property managers are now able to visit properties to carry out appraisals and listings provided they can do so safely. This means physical distancing must be maintained at all times, hygiene etiquette is adhered to, masks worn, hands sanitised when entering and exiting a property, all visits are contactless where possible and contact tracing systems will be in place.
Property managers must not attend a property if either they or anyone at the property have been unwell with flu-like symptoms, are self-isolating or have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the previous 14 days.
Routine inspections are able to be carried out under Alert Level-2, as long as safety precautions are taken. We understand that the Insurance Council of New Zealand have confirmed that for a landlords' insurance policy, any deferred routine inspections will need to be completed as soon as practically possible.
Two-metre distancing, the use of masks, hand sanitiser and the wiping of surfaces will be adhered to before and during routine inspections. Contact tracing will also be in place.
Before a property manager enters a property, they must obtain confirmation that the tenants have not been unwell with flu-like symptoms, self-isolating or been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the previous 14 days. They will not enter a property if this confirmation cannot be obtained
Property viewings will be back on the cards during Level-2 as long as safety precautions are in place as well as contact tracing. All attendees will be documented and will include names, address, phone numbers and an email address to assist with contact tracing. The property managers will complete the register on behalf of attendees to help maintain physical distancing and good hygiene practices.
No more than 10 people are to be inside the property at any one time, this includes property managers. Queue management processes/measures will also be in place to ensure attendees waiting to enter maintain physical distancing.
Moving in and out of a rental property
Under Alert Level-2 if tenants want to begin a new tenancy, they will be able to move to a new property.
This also means that property managers are now able to advertise available rental properties to their portfolio of contacts. However, viewings will need to abide by the rules set out by the government, which is stated above.
Tenancy agreements are now able to be signed in a property manager's workplace but the option of dropping documents to a tenant’s home, sending by post or signing electronically are alternative options.
For more information about the guidelines for operating under COVID-19 Alert Level-2, issued by REINZ please click here.
During these times, things are changing rapidly. Here at McDonald Real Estate, we are keeping up to date on all requirements set out by the government to keep our staff and community safe. We will continue to provide the most up to date information that we have. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate in contacting us directly. We are happy to help.