Some landlords return to their rental property thinking it will be identical to how it was prior to renting it out. Finding the polar opposite can be an uncomfortable eye-opener for unaware property investors.
An emotional bond not shared by all
Landlords who have previously lived in and renovated their now rental property have often sunk their own time, energy, and money into the dwelling, forming an emotional bond with it. This attachment can be detrimental to the landlord business because that emotional bond is not usually shared by tenants.
The misalignment in outlooks can lead to a real kick in the guts when the landlord returns to their rental property, having not seen it since they first placed tenants in it, only to find it in an altogether more ‘lived in’ state.
What commonly happens when landlords return to their investment property
The expectations of the landlord are commonly at odds with the level of wear and tear deemed “fair” as set out in the Residential Tenancies Act. Because landlords aren’t living in the home and doing the wearing and the tearing, they can see it as gross negligence on the tenant’s part, leading to outrage.
A similar scenario presents itself when landlords have the house commercially cleaned before a tenancy begins, and expect it cleaned to this standard again at the tenant’s expense. This isn’t how the Tenancy Tribunal interprets the legal requirement that it’s left “reasonably clean and tidy” by the tenant.
The “reasonably clean and tidy” phrase doesn’t mean commercial cleaning of carpets and surfaces by a professional cleaner. The allowance of general wear and tear means things don’t need to be spotless to a hotel standard, or even the standard the home was in prior to the tenancy commencing.
Preparing additional funds and emotional resilience
In an article published in 2021, Jo Rae, Head of Property Management at REINZ, said, “Anecdotally, we are hearing of less than around 20% of handovers of property back to owners, where there are no issues.”
She explained that owners inevitably feel there are instances that they consider to be more than fair wear and tear — issues ranging from marks on polished floors to carpets not being clean enough, or gardens not looking like they did originally.
To avoid heartache and unforeseen expenses when moving back into a previously rented property or starting a new tenancy, we recommend landlords account for this possibility and allocate funds to put toward additional cleaning and/or repairs after a tenant has met their legal obligations.
We also recommend preparing yourself emotionally if you’re taking the home off the rental market and back into the whanau — it may be the first home you poured your heart into.
Is a move back in the right one?
Unfortunately, sometimes landlords have to move into their own rental property for reasons out of their control. Other times it’s because their investment isn’t producing the right kind of yield, or they’re finding the property investment game is a lot more work than they anticipated.
If you’re a landlord considering making the move for one of the latter reasons, drop us a line to see if our professional property management services can alleviate your woes, give you your life back, and make your property a more viable asset.