While many activities take a break during Level 4 lockdown, the obligations of landlords and tenants continue. Properties still need to be managed and any issues that arise still need to be dealt with.
Much of our work hinges on good communication; between our tenants and property our managers and between our landlords and property managers. That is a constant theme in our business planning and our business systems (and in these articles as well).
What happens if a change of tenancy is planned during lockdown? How do we manage property inspections or essential repairs? How do we manage the process when for some reason we need to be on-site? Does the change in how we have to operate have any potential legal implications and how does it affect the insurance of the property? These are some of the questions that we have to address and every landlord, whether their property is managed by a third party or not, would have to be aware of how to operate under the various COVID Lockdown levels.
Property inspections are a requirement for some insurance companies. (It pays to be familiar with your particular policies). With the cooperation of our tenants, we continue to conduct inspections during lockdown. These are recorded remote walk-throughs with the tenant and are lead by our property managers. The inspections are recording on the Property managers’s Zoom App. While it takes a little longer, it works surprisingly well. The fact that the tenant does not have a choice on whether to be present or not during these sessions (as they have with on-site visits) may have drawbacks but also benefits. Perhaps that is a topic for another time.
During lockdowns the property inspections are important to landlords as is any change that affects the property. Our landlords want to know that tenants are well looked after while they are spending more time at the home and also want the assurance that all is well with the property.
Property Viewings and moving
There are of course no property viewings under level 4 and neither can tenants move in our out of a property. (There are some exceptions and you can find out more on the tenancy services website.) For that we have to wait until level 3.
Any planned moves or viewings therefore have to be postponed. That can have a substantial ripple effect which we manage together with our tenants and landlords.
Where larger tenancies such as apartment buildings are involved, we communicate with tenants and building owners to make them aware of the requirements for lockdown, such as strict scanning-in requirements and social distancing rules.
General property maintenance will have to be put on hold, however, where urgent repairs have to be done on a property, tradespeople are allowed to visit the premises as long as they comply with the strict distancing rules and only if there is an immediate health and safety risk the tenancy services website has more informatinn. At Metro NZ we partner with professional trades that understand and adhere to the rules.
Level 4 lockdown is a worrisome time for all and also for our landlords and tenants. Our approach that has worked time and time again is good and honest communication with all parties involved. While our systems are designed for times that are not locked down, we have adapted them well to all levels of lockdown, including level 4. Our systems work and we can assist out landlords and tenants if there are questions and concerns.
If you have a property or a property portfolio that needs to be managed professionally then please give us a call at Metro NZ. We may not be in the office, but we’re here for you none the less, working from home and looking after our tenants and our landlords along with their properties.
Contact us at Metro NZ Property Management for more information.