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FAQs

  • About Hatch
  • Landlord
    • Am I allowed to carry out maintenance on my rental property under Alert Level 3?

      Maintenance can go ahead - Landlords should get the tenants’ consent
      before doing any maintenance. If the maintenance or repairs are not
      urgent, landlords and tenants may agree to have the work completed at a
      later date.

      Note - Tradespeople must wear face masks and must comply with health requirements and any Government guidance issued in respect of their industry

    • I’m new to rental property. Where do I start?
      Start by giving us a call at Hatch and we can talk you through and answer any questions you may have.
    • I’ve been managing my properties myself but want to change. What do I need to think about?
      You’ll understand managing rental properties can be stressful and it takes time, energy, and effort. Here’s a few tips if you’re thinking about making a change and choosing a property management company:
      • The first step is to go and chat with them.
      • Have a list of questions, for example, about their management fees, what the fees cover, if there are any additional fees.
      • Talk to them about inspections, how regularly they are made and what the report looks like.
      • How do they handle issues that arise, for example, damage, anti-social behaviour or rent arrears?
      • Get to know how many properties each manager takes care of and what support there is for them if they get overloaded.
      • What about maintenance? Do you do the simple tasks? Who does the property management company use for maintenance?
      • Your rental property will need to meet Healthy Homes standards. If it doesn’t what does the company do to make sure you and they meet legal obligations?
      Feel free to ask as many questions as you have. You will get a feel for who you want managing your property based on meeting them and their answers to your questions.
    • Should I sell my investment property now?
      “Not if you don’t need to,” is the general advice, though none of us truly knows what things will look like post COVID-19 so these uncertain times are also a good opportunity to take stock. It is also a good time to discuss your situation with your bank or mortgage broker as everyone’s circumstances will be different.
    • What’s the latest on the Hamilton rental market?
      The Hamilton rental market was in a strong position before the 25 March COVID-19 lockdown. Rents were holding up and demand was high. A number of Air B ‘n B properties may come onto the market as a result of COVID-19, however as Hamilton is not a major tourist hotspot the number is unlikely to be a significant when compared to centres such as Queenstown, Wanaka and Rotorua. It may take some months before we get an accurate picture of what the Hamilton market is like post COVID-19.
    • Where is the RTA at right now?
      Submissions have been taken and from mid-April 2020 the Social Services and Community Select Committee is hearing from submitters wishing to speak to their submission via video link. All submissions will be considered with a report due from the Select Committee on 22 June 2020. Dates for release of the findings and a final decision have yet to be confirmed.
    • As a landlord, what do the proposed Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) changes mean for me in day-to-day practical terms?
      Nothing changes until any of the proposed amendments are passed into law. What is important is that you are aware that unless mutually agreed otherwise, under the proposed changes any new tenant signed-up on a 12-month fixed-term tenancy agreement will automatically move to a ‘periodic tenancy’ at the end of the fixed-term. Basically, the tenants do not have to move out after 12 months, nor are they obliged to sign up for another 12 months if they don’t wish to. It is important to select new tenants carefully and that you complete all reference and other checks diligently.
    • Will you send me an end-of-year statement?
      Absolutely, at the end of every financial year you will receive a year-end statement from us for IRD purposes.
    • Will you pay my rates and insurance for my rental property?
      Yes, just advise us in writing and either have the invoice redirected to our postal address or forward them on as soon as you receive them, in time for us to pay them.
    • Can I do maintenance myself?
      We highly recommend you let us use our contractors. This saves you the hassle of emergency callouts in the middle of the night. Our contractors give us very competitive rates so you can be comfortable you are getting the best job at the best price. By having us manage it, your accountant will also be happy, as it allows us to keep a record of what has  been done to your property and keeps all income and expenditure in the one place.
    • What happens if a tenant doesn’t pay rent?
      We check rent payments daily.  If a tenant has not made a payment, they will be contacted immediately. Based on that, if the payment is not made at the agreed time then we will issue a 14-day notice of breach to remedy the situation.  We will, however, apply for mediation if a tenant misses that week’s payment so the application is in the system. If they subsequently pay the rent, the application can be withdrawn but if they haven’t, then no time has been wasted to get before mediation. We are obliged to follow due process as outlined int the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.
    • What does the management fee cover?
      This includes advertising, rent collection, re-letting, inspections and administration such as statements.
    • If I want to sell my property, can Hatch help?
      We have relationships with real estate agents around the Hamilton and Waikato region and can recommend the right agents to help you.
    • I’m going overseas for a month, what do I need to do?
      Please let us know if you plan to leave New Zealand for longer than 21 days. We already have your authority to manage the property on your behalf, however, please contact us if you have any questions or concerns for while you will be away. We will manage any maintenance or repair issues for you as usual.
    • What do I do if I misplace a rent statement?
      Please contact us and we will send you a replacement statement.
    • What should I do if I change my address, bank account, phone number, email address or other details?
      Please notify us in writing as soon as possible.
    • What does Hatch recommend for meth testing?
      Hatch recommends that testing is carried out before and after each new tenancy, as well as ‘on suspicion’ during a tenancy. This provides a baseline reading of meth levels prior to a tenant moving in. Our recommendation aligns with the requirements of most insurers. An ‘on suspicion’ test should only be undertaken if a baseline test was completed prior to the tenancy beginning.
    • Who pays for damage by the tenant?
      First, we must ensure that it is actual damage and not just normal wear and tear. Where there is actual damage attributable to a tenant, the bond will usually provide sufficient protection to remedy the damage. If not, action can be taken in the Tenancy Tribunal against the tenant. Landlord protection insurance can also cover these types of situations.
    • Can I inspect the property whenever I like?
      The tenant must be given between 48 hours and 14 days’ notice if you wish to inspect the property. If the tenant withholds consent, then we will arrange a suitable day and time for the inspection, and provide written permission for this to occur.
    • Who is responsible for maintaining the lawns and gardens, and clearing the gutters?
      Unless otherwise agreed, the tenant is responsible for maintaining the lawns and gardens to the same standard as at the start of the tenancy. Any major garden maintenance, such as hedge or tree trimming, are the owner’s responsibility. If the property is provided with watering systems, these need to be kept in working order during the tenancy. It is the owner’s responsibility to clear the gutters.
    • What about smoke alarms and light bulbs?
      It is the owner’s responsibility to provide working smoke alarms at the property. To comply with the Residential Tenancies Act, the property must have the correct number of smoke alarms for the property size. Alarms must be installed in the correct locations. Any new, replaced smoke alarms must have long-life photoelectric batteries. We can provide annual smoke alarm services carried out by smoke alarm professionals, if you wish. The Property Manager will also test smoke alarm batteries during inspections. At the start of the tenancy all light bulbs should be at the property and in working order. During the tenancy, the tenant is responsible for replacing any smoke alarm batteries (if applicable) and lightbulbs.  
    • What if the tenant wants the locks changed?
      If the tenant wishes to alter the existing locks or add other security devices to the property, the tenant must obtain the owner’s prior consent and pay all costs. The tenant must provide the owner/agent with a copy of any new keys.  
    • How secure must the property be?
      The law requires that an owner must provide and maintain locks and other security devices allowing the property to be “reasonably secure”. We recommend fitting key-operated deadlocks to all external doors and windows.
    • What keys must be supplied to the tenant?
      All tenants listed on the Tenancy Agreement are given a full set of keys. This includes keys to all external doors, windows, garage or letterbox locks. We retain a full master set of keys at the office. You may be required to have keys cut at your expense.
    • What happens when the Tenancy Agreement expires?
      The tenancy will automatically become a periodic tenancy when it ends. If the landlord or the tenant doesn’t want this to happen, they need to give notice saying this. This notice must be given between 90 and 21 days before the end of the fixed term. It is not necessary to renew a Tenancy Agreement when the fixed-term period ends. While we can request that a tenant renews their Tenancy Agreement for a further fixed term, we cannot insist that they do so. Any renewal agreement must be mutually agreed between the parties.
    • If the tenant has a pet, can I ask for an extra bond?
      Unfortunately no, charging a bond in excess of the tenant’s normal rental bond is illegal.
    • May I give you special instructions?
      Absolutely. You are welcome to provide special instructions in relation to the property and how it is managed (provided those instructions are lawful). Special instructions need to be provided in writing or included as part of the Hatch Property Management Authority agreement.
    • Who signs the tenancy documentation?
      It is normal practice for us to sign these documents on your behalf. We will send you copies of any documents that we sign on your behalf.
    • What tenancy documentation is required?
      All tenancies are subject to the Residential Tenancies Act. The tenancy documentation includes:
      • A Tenancy Agreement
      • A Premises Condition Report
      • A Bond Lodgement Form
    • Do you guarantee the tenant?
      We can never guarantee the performance of the tenant for your property, however we work holistically with tenants, building meaningful relationships based on mutual respect. This approach, as well as our skills and experience enables us to find the best tenants for your property. There is a certain amount of risk that comes with owning an investment property. We always recommend that you take out landlord protection insurance to ensure you are fully protected.
    • How do you determine the best rent for my property?
      We always strive to ensure you receive the maximum rent possible, however we also must keep in mind setting the correct market rent to get your property rented as soon as possible. We look at the following factors:
      • Current market analysis
      • MBIE bond data for the area
      These factors allow us to give you the right information to set the right rent for your property.
  • Tenant
    • Am I allowed to move house under Alert level 3?

      Tenants who live in an Alert Level 3 area can move house to an area
      at the same Alert Level. If tenants are moving within an area that is at
      Alert Level 3, removal companies can assist with moving (following the
      appropriate Alert Level requirements).

      Tenants can also move out of Alert Level 3 into Alert Level 2, if they are
      relocating permanently/returning home. If they are leaving an Alert Level
      3 area permanently, results of a COVID-19 test will need to be returned
      within 72 hours before departure.

    • Will rental inspections take place under Alert level 3?

      In-person inspections of rental properties can take place with the tenant’s
      consent, however virtual inspections are an option if the tenants agree.

    • Can I view a property under Alert level 3?

      Yes, however you must have pre-applied for the property and been approved. A private viewing can then take place only if all current tenants give written consent. Please let us know if you are feeling unwell on the day and we can reschedule.

    • Getting your bond back quickly
      At the end of your tenancy, you will no doubt want your bond refunded quickly. For your full bond to be paid quickly, you will need to ensure:
      • any outstanding rent is paid promptly
      • the property is cleaned, and grounds returned to the condition they were in at the start of your tenancy. The property must also pass the final inspection conducted by this agency.
      • any monies outstanding such as for damages, compensation amounts or break lease fees are paid
      • all keys, remote controls etc have been returned.
      Once these criteria are met, we can then refund your bond with the owner’s permission. If any of the criteria are not met, this will cause delays to the return of your bond. A bond cannot be released without a bond refund form being signed by all tenants or an order from the Tenancy Tribunal.
    • Tenancy Tribunal disputes and eviction
      Should a dispute or an eviction occur, your details may be lodged on the Tenancy Tribunal Database.
    • Outstanding monies/damages
      It is our policy that any unpaid monies at the termination of the tenancy are immediately placed into the hands of a debt collection agency for recovery.
    • The final inspection
      Final inspection will be commenced once the property has been fully vacated, cleaned, gardens maintained, and keys returned.
    • Outstanding rent
      It is against the Residential Tenancies Act to withhold rent at the end of your tenancy with the intention for this to be deducted from the bond. Your rent must be paid in full, leaving your bond intact.
    • Cleaning
      It can be challenging to thoroughly clean a property when you are busy moving into a new property. We encourage you to engage a cleaner so that the house can be thoroughly cleaned. If the property is not thoroughly cleaned, you may incur extra cleaning costs and the may will also delay the return of the bond.
    • Open for inspection
      If you are vacating a property, you may be asked to allow the property to open for 15 minutes in order to show prospective tenants through. Three weeks prior to your vacating date you are obliged under the Residential Tenancy Act to allow agents to show any interested parties through.
    • Breaking a fixed-term
      If you wish to leave during a fixed-term lease, we require your notice in writing, and the following costs will apply:
      • Rent until a tenant approved by the owner takes possession, or the lease expires (whichever occurs first), plus an administration fee of 1 weeks’ rent
      • If you vacate the premises before a new tenant is secured, you are also responsible for ensuring the grounds are watered and maintained, including clearing the letterbox for this period.
    • Rubbish and rubbish collection
      Please ensure no rubbish is left around the property including lawn clippings. Rubbish must be put out on the mornings of collection day. Visit the Hamilton City Council website for everything you need to know about refuse and recycling collections including the collection days for your area at fightthelandfill.co.nz/household/ Additional recycling bins can be purchased from Hamilton City Council for $15.
    • Misplaced keys
      If you have misplaced your keys during business hours you may come to our office and borrow the master keys for up to one hour to enable you to have another set of keys cut or to gain access to the property. Please note that we do not hold (and are not obligated to hold) spare keys to all properties. If we do not hold a spare key for the property, or you have misplaced your keys after hours, you will need to call our locksmith to assist you (this will be at your cost). The details are at the start of this guide.
    • Picture hooks
      If you wish to install any new picture hooks, please let us know in writing what type of hooks you wish to use. Please assess and advise us of the type of walls in the property and the type of picture hooks you require. We will let you know in writing if you are permitted to install the requested picture hooks.
    • Noise/disruption
      Please take the utmost care to ensure that you do not disrupt neighbours with noise, such as loud music or parties. Your neighbours have a right to enjoy peace and quiet in their home. If you are tenanting a unit or apartment, please take particular care with respect to noise due to the close proximity of other properties, usually located on the other side of the wall. You are also obliged to ensure that your visitors do not disrupt the neighbours.
    • Fixtures and fittings
      If you wish to install or remove any fixtures or fittings, you must request this beforehand in writing and wait for approval in writing from the owner.
    • Tenant painting
      You are not permitted to paint any part of the property. Any painting must be carried out by experienced, professional painters and only with our written permission.
    • Strict no smoking or vaping policy
      All properties have a strict ‘no smoking or vaping inside’ policy.
    • Aquariums
      Like pot plants, aquarium stands can leave rust marks on floors and can cause carpet rot if placed directly on carpets. When placed on carpets, the weight of the aquarium filled with water may also cause permanent indentations and damage to the base of the carpet pile.
    • Pot plants
      Please keep pot plants outside. Pot plants placed inside may leave an indent or stains/damage to carpet or flooring. Moisture can cause rot to develop underneath pot plants placed on carpet, if, even with saucers or containers placed underneath.
    • Open fireplaces
      If the property has an open fireplace, it cannot be used unless you have written permission from us. Sometimes fireplaces are ornamental, or the flue/chimney is blocked, and using them could cause a fire risk or damage to the property.
    • Waste master
      Waste masters can’t take everything. For example, they do not like teaspoons, banana skins, fibrous products or plastic - do not put these items into them.
    • Property damage
      If property damage has occurred you are obliged to let us know immediately, or on the next business day if the damage occurred on a weekend or public holiday.
    • Smoke alarms
      If you think for any reason that the smoke alarm(s) are not working or the batteries need replacing, please let us know immediately. Smoke alarms save lives - protect your safety by being vigilant and reporting any issues to us immediately. Removing smoke alarms or batteries may result in a $3000 fine.
    • Ventilation
      Always use the extractor fan and rangehoods, and ensure the property is well ventilated by opening windows and curtains daily. This will minimise the risk of mould and mildew developing.
    • Your safety
      We place the highest priority on your safety, and the safety of your children, occupants, and visitors. Please be aware of:
      • Exposed wiring including faulty power points and switches
      • Gas smell or odour
      • Loose balcony railings, steps or decking woodwork
      • Loose or faulty locks
      • Broken or cracked windows and broken/loose window locks
      • Water leaks
    • Dishonoured direct credit
      If your direct credit is dishonoured (ie. the payment can’t be made), we will notify you via email. You will then be required to pay the missed payment in full within two business days.
    • Policy for late rent payments
      We pride ourselves in our careful tenant qualification and screening process, and choose tenants based on our confidence that you will pay your rent on time, every time. All rent payments are reconciled daily. If your payment falls behind by one day, you will receive a text message or phone call. If your payment falls behind by 14 days, you will be immediately issued with a formal breach letter, requesting that you rectify the arrears. If your payment falls behind by 21 days, we will immediately apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to end the tenancy.
    • Rent payments
      All payments must be paid electronically – we do not accept cash payments. Please set up direct credit payments for your weekly rent payment. Our bank account details, the weekly amount to pay, and the reference number are provided in the Tenancy Agreement.
    • Lodgement of your bond
      Your bond will be lodged with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). You will receive a confirmation letter with your bond number.
    • Moving into your rental
      • Have you changed your address?
      • Have you connected all services?
      • Have you collected the keys?
      • Do you have Tenant Contents Insurance?
      It is crucial that you arrange your own contents insurance. If your goods are damaged or destroyed by circumstances affecting the property (i.e. fire, storm damage, power outages etc), then your goods and possessions are not insured by the owner as they do not have an insurable interest in your belongings. A quality tenant contents insurance policy will cover your goods for events such as fire, flood and burglary. You need to ensure that all your possessions are adequately insured, as the owner/agent will not be liable for damaged or destroyed possessions.
    • Owner’s mail and contact
      If you receive any mail addressed in the owners or previous tenants, please forward it to us as soon as possible. Under no circumstances should you contact the owner directly. The owner must only be contacted by Hatch as the duly appointed agent, as we are employed to act on the owner’s behalf.
    • Lease renewals – fixed-term leases
      At the end of a fixed-term lease, provided that your rent has been paid on time, the property has been kept clean and undamaged, the grounds well maintained, and the landlord is happy to continue your tenancy, we will ask you if you would like to renew your lease. We will do this by providing written notice no less than 21 days and no more than 90 days prior to your lease end date. If you do not renew your lease, the agreement will automatically revert to a periodic tenancy where you will continue to rent the property on a monthly basis. To end a periodic tenancy, you are required to give written notice of your intention to leave no less than 21 days prior to you ending the tenancy.
    • Rent reviews – periodic tenancies
      Rent reviews will occur throughout the tenancy and rent may be adjusted in accordance with market conditions. You will be given a minimum of 60 days’ notice of the owners’ intention to increase the rent.
    • Entry with 24 hours’ notice
      The owner or agent has the right to enter the premises by providing 24 hours written notice to you, in order to do any of the following:
      • Carry out duties under the Residential Tenancies Act
      • Value the property
      • Show prospective buyers, prospective tenants or lenders through the property
      • Verify a reasonable belief that the tenant has not met their duties as a tenant
      • Conduct a general inspection
    • Pre-entry and routine inspections
      We will conduct a pre-entry inspection of the property prior to your tenancy starting. This will include photos of the property. During your tenancy we will conduct regular routine inspections. Regular inspections allow us to provide feedback to the owner that you are maintaining the property, and also allow us to check for any repairs. We may take photos of any repairs required and a photo of the grounds.
    • Urgent repairs
      Urgent repairs include anything that could cause injury to the tenant or damage to the property, and may include:
      • Broken or burst water pipes
      • Blocked or broken toilet
      • Gas leak/Water leak/Flooding
      • Dangerous electrical fault, dangerous power point, loose live wire etc
      • Fault or damage that makes the premises unsafe or insecure
      • Fault likely to injure a person, or cause damage to the property or extreme inconvenience to the tenants
      If you require urgent repairs, please phone or text your property manager.
    • General repairs
      Please report all repairs to your property manager via email, phone or text.

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