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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Nelson NZ

    Default Nelson PIA May newsletter and meeting announcement

    After years and years of lobbying by many good people including being personally consulted several times over several years it has happened. What you may ask has happened? Well actually I am not too sure but the changes are rated as the biggest change to the District Courts Act since 1947. The changes are such that the good folk down at the court were not keen to come and speak to us so soon after the new rules have come into use. The new rules applied from 14 April.
    I have been trying to figure out why I and the court staff have had so much difficulty coming to grips with the changes. The old system which I learnt by the trial and error process was not so much a matter of learning a set of rules but it was really an art form. The processes of paying for this or that action like debt enforcement or eviction was simple. The art form was all about timing and having the court staff, the debtors and a network of lawyers around the country understanding what was required and what we the creditors could get away with. Unfortunately some of the crafty debtors and a few respectable persons of knowledge also understood the process and knew how to frustrate the collection of debts. I have had a few lawyers over the years contact me and try to argue and bluff me that their client could not be evicted on such and such a day. They of course never won that argument but I did lose a few debtors down rat holes from time to time.
    My lovely helpful friends from the court will do their best to elaborate more on the changes. As the system beds in a whole new set of trial and errors will occur. As with all changes some are good, some worse, and a lot are a mystery to both me and at least some of the court staff.
    For instance evictions which used to be free are now $200.
    Orders for examination used to involve both creditors (and expensive lawyers) plus the debtors appearing personally in front of a court staff member to determine their ability to pay the debt. Now the creditors do not need to appear thus avoiding the use of expensive lawyers. It is also possible to hold the examinations over the phone.
    Attachment orders can be set up by mutual agreement at either the tribunal or mediation. I think this means an examination will not then be needed. However another rule says attachment orders can only be commenced after the tenancy ends so the chances of a mediated attachment order is almost impossible.
    Before the speakers get going we will have our AGM. As usual this will not take too much time. We have a change of president coming up. Godfrey Watson is stepping down and Christine Hands an existing committee member has been nominated as president. If anyone would like to join the committee please let me know.
    The following article comes from the states. I have not translated or modified it to suit New Zealand conditions. Seeing how other people operate can often be of benefit to us landlords struggling away in our own back yard. (Section 8 tenants are sort of the same as our WINZ paid tenants). I think some of the points are very relevant to our world. Letís have a bit of fun. One free landlording book is offered to anyone who can write a 25 point Kiwi Landlord things Iíve learnt. Bring your offerings along to the meeting and we might read them out.
    25 things I've learned (by Ralph [WA])
    Things I have learned over 3 decades of landlording:
    1. I like to think that I am a good judge of character but I've been fooled before. Always verify your applicantís credit, employment and rental history.
    2. Look at the applicantís car and know that your property will be cared for in much the same manner.
    3. An applicant who claims to have been a victim of unfair circumstances will often make you a victim of unfair circumstances.
    4. Do not rent to friends or friends of friends
    5. Pets cause problems more often than not. If youíre going to accept them you need to be compensated for the extra wear tear and risks that you will be taking on. A no pets policy is the best policy.
    6. Replace water heaters every 10 years whether they need it or not.
    7. Keep the gutters clean and the moss on the roof at bay.
    8. Do not provide or loan lawn mowers, string trimmers or power tools of any kind. Youíll get them back broken and if someone gets hurt you might get sued.
    9. Donít let tenants do their own painting. They often botch the job.
    10. Donít hand over a signed contract until you have a completed inspection report filled out and returned to you. Itís best to be present when the tenant inspects.
    11. Take lots of pictures and video before each tenancy. Include the front page of that dayís newspaper to verify the date.
    12. It does no good to prohibit anything in your lease unless you have you have effective and immediate remedies included in your agreement or available by statute.
    13. Require tenants to carry renters insurance for their protection and yours.
    14. Include wording in your lease that limits your liability during periods where the unit is rendered inhabitable (through no fault of the landlord) to abatement of rent during that period.
    15. Do not conduct ďOpen HousesĒ. Show units by appointment only to parties that you have prequalified in a phone interview.
    16. Include a modest rent escalation clause in your lease (I use 2.9% per year). It gets them used to the idea and prevents you from agonizing about when, whether and how much to increase the rent.
    17. Avoid roommate situations if possible. They are inherently unstable.
    18. Get a Lowes credit card and youíll get an automatic 5% discount on your purchases
    19. Get a Home Depot card and ask them to match the Lowes discount.
    20. If you are ex-military disregard 18 & 19 and ask for a 10% discount at Lowes and Home Depot.
    21. I have had bad experiences with Section 8 situations and recommend that you avoid them.
    22. Give your number to the neighbors and ask them to let you know if there are any problems or concerns.
    23. I offer well maintained units that are very competitively priced but I insist on well qualified tenants. I also ask for 2 year+ leases whenever possible. Those who rent from me know they are getting a good deal and are usually willing to commit to a longer lease.
    24. Make sure that tenants understand that if they cause stoppage of the drains, they will get the bill. Feminine hygiene products, wet wipes, foreign objects or even large wads of toilet paper should not be flushed down the toilet.
    25. Place battery operated water leak alarms under the sinks Best $10 you can spend.


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