Below is a compilation of Tips sent in by TINZ members. Hopefully you can pick up a tip or two from your peers.

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this page are not necessarily those of TINZ. TINZ gives no warranty and accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or the completeness of the material. Readers are advised not to rely solely on this information when making any decision.

  • If the house still has the old type fuses that need fuse wire, change them to circuit breakers for safety. We had the case where a tenant had rewired fuses with electrical wire. This caused light shades to melt, lights to blow and appliances to blow. We are lucky that we did not have a house fire. We have now changed all fuses to circuit breakers. Circuit breakers are safer and cannot be tampered with in the same way. Maria

  • When accepting a tenant we also write down their vehicle registration details (without them knowing). Although you cant easily search the details for $2.95 like in the past, you CAN apply to have this info released to you via NZTA and find out the address the vehicle is registered too. A default in rent or a tribunal ruling is a justified reason. Just another way to track people down if they do a runner. Narelle
  • At daylight savings time, deliver a twin pack of 9volt batteries to your tenant and remind them to check their smoke detectors and replace batteries if needed. Often the cost is a lot for tenants but minimal for the landlord to protect their asset. It is also a sign of good faith on behalf of the landlord and keeps you real as opposed to a bank account just taking their rent.We also keep a register at inspection time to show we have inspected the smoke detector and they are working and in place. Many tenants remove them, for whatever reason and this covers your but, in case of fire, if insurance questions whether the property had working smoke detectors. Wendy

  • When setting up a fixed term tenancy, instead of making the end date exactly one year away, calculate 52 weeks instead. For example if the tenancy starts 1 April don’t end it 1 April (Its amazing how many do!) If the tenancy is starting on a Wednesday then end it on a Tuesday 52 weeks later. This ensures there are an even amount of rent weeks in the tenancy. This is most helpful if the tenant renews and you want to increase the rent. If you haven’t done this you have one week where the rent is half at the old rate and half at the new rate, which confuses most property management programs. One extra minute of your time spent at the beginning calculating this saves a lot of time a year down the track.   Robyn

  • For a quick & easy spot clean in between tenants, keep a pack of magic sponges in your car. Just wet & these will quickly clean those areas which have been missed by your previous tenants – around light switches, fronts of cupboards, etc. No need for extra chemicals or cleaning cloths & they are quick & safe on all surfaces. Karen

  • When meeting a potential tenant at the property, Look to see if the tenant/ family takes their shoes off before entering. This will be 2nd nature to a family that looks after a property. It may not guarantee good tenants but if they if casualy stroll dirt through your property whilst your there, then you can imagine how careless they may be. Sam.
  • THINK SMARTER Use you Iphone  or smart phonewhen taking a tenant application to get a photo of the tenant and their relevant ID. Easy then to upload to your Property Management System, your own property records and to a “ Cloud type storage” for safekeeping and of course to the TINZ site. I do this all the time and of course can email it and even print from my phone !  Gill.
  • Not all landlords feel comfortable doing regular inspections – especially if the tenant lives downstairs, is a member of the family, etc. But regular checks are a requirement of most insurance companies, so need to be done. How about offering to clean the air conditioner filters or check the smoke detectors for the tenant? You can then do the inspection while you’re there & they feel like you’re doing them a favour instead of being ‘inspected’.  Karen.

  • Always take vacant possession when purchasing a property with tenants unless you are 100% sure they will make great tenants. You never know the reason for the sale could be that the tenant is not the lovely tenant they seem. We were burnt badly buy this, went to court had the tenant evicted and am now trying to get $10 a week from her to pay back almost $1400 as she is on a benefit. Even though we have a court order advising WINZ that this $10 a week must be paid they have not started the payment and the order was dated 6 months ago. Landlord beware. Abby

  • We offer fixed term at the beginning of the tenancy and we found it 9 out of ten the tenants will not cancel the tenancy before it is due. Allison

  • Its great to have a good relationship with your tenants, but making friends is not always in a Landlords best interest. Friends do favours for one another. One favour can lead to another and before you know it you have a tenant in rent arrears. It is advisable to keep business top priority. Do not lose yourself in a personality. Choose leniency wisely. Regards. Leeanne

  • We have excellent tenants who have now been with us for 5 1/2 years. When their second Christmas came up we gave them a cheque for 1 weeks rent to thank them for the immaculate way they look after our property, always pay their rent on time and only ask for help when something needs repairing. They really appreciate this and we think it helps to keep really great tenants. Pauline

  • I ask tenants, what their relationship is with each of the people they give as a referee, then I also ask the referee what their relationship is to the prospective tenant to see if there is a match. The results can be interesting! When checking what a prospective tenant has filled in on their pre-tenancy application form, I ask if they are known by any other name/s? Can be very helpful when doing credit and security checks. Edreen

  • When your tenant is vacating the property and you are doing the final inspection, take a picture of the power meter (and gas if connected) which will prove the final reading of the meter. This will protect the ingoing tenant incase the previous occupant did not close their account. Cheers, Kelly

  • Remember the investment you make in a dry, healthy living environment will pay off in attracting and maintaining good quality tenants for your property. Leah

  • Another handy tip for online checking of tenants is the Sensible Sentencing Trust -    If a tenant has changed towns, has large gaps in their references or only boarding references & no credit history there is a chance they may have spent a chunk of the missing time in Jail – this doesn’t show everyone but can give a heads up if they were a real threat in the past. Debbie

  • One little trick I've picked up..... It's always a good idea to develop a network of tradesmen that you can call on at a moments notice to fix a leaky pipe or faulty light fitting. I myself have an electrician (who happens to be a relative) and a plumber that I've used many times in the past and know and trust. Then when you get a call from the tenants needing something fixed you can send them around quick smart and return things to normality. The trick is to ask your tradesmen to have a good look around the place while he's there to make sure everything's in order, ie. how tidy is the place? are they looking after it? what state is the garden/lawn in? any sign of drug use? If you have a good relationship with your tradesmen they won't mind having a look around for you. The point is you get a property inspection without you yourself the landlord disturbing the tenants! Matt

  • Many landlords will not allow pets, especially dogs. Some of us however in a rural environment feel that an outside dog is acceptable if the tenant seems responsible. Oh boy did I get it wrong when a tenant used two german shepherds to prevent us from entering our property to carry out repairs and maintenance. Even when armed with an order from the tenancy tribunal what landlord in their right mind would be prepared to enter a property with two large dogs on the loose. What a long drawn out process and a lot of inconvenience I created for myself and this has made me change my policy on pets. ‘STRICTLY NO PETS NOT EVEN A GOLDFISH.’   Kathy

  • Following the vetting process I meet with the successful tenant immediately often in the evening signing them up on the agreement and I require in cash a deposit normally equating to two weeks rent. No deposit, no agreement. I explain to the tenant that I must take the deposit to secure the property on their behalf and to end the advertising and search campaign. I do find that many experienced landlords and property managers do not work in this way and find several days or a week later when seeking a deposit that the tenant has had a change of mind exposing the landlord to losing valuable time in the search process/rent and the obvious inconvenience of seeking some form of compensation through the tenancy tribunal if an agreement had been signed. Most often they don't bother and lose rent as a consequence. Make sure the prospective tenant has skin in the game in the form of a non-refundable deposit. Sean

  • A tip when doing due diligence – check Facebook and always Google tenants names – surprising what you find out about their habits.

  • When I go to sign new tenants up, I make a point of checking their vehicle out. If the interior is tidy and clean normally the person is also. Jenni

  • One month before the tenant is due to vacate I send them a letter with a list of things I wish them to clean and a reminder that any additional cleaning will be deducted from the bond. Often tenants never think to clean things like light switches, skirtings, door handles and the inside window frames and I find I now have less to do to get the property ready for the next tenants.  Karen

  • Keep a record of window sizes in your rental properties so if you need to replace curtains or nets you can look out for specials or put a watch on Trade Me thereby saving some money.  Jo

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this page are not necessarily those of TINZ. TINZ gives no warranty and accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or the completeness of the material. Readers are advised not to rely solely on this information when making any decision.