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Property Management During Lockdown

By Katrina Green

So here we are again with Covid-19 upsetting ‘normal business’ in NZ.  Property Management is not classed as an essential service so during Level 4 we are very limited to being able to do parts of our job, anything which involves us meeting with people, or visiting properties.

We are lucky enough to be an industry that can continue working from home however, so have been able to keep in touch with our landlords and tenants and make sure everything continues ticking along.

Level 3 does allow us to show rental properties to prospective tenants, and with plenty of enquiry on our advertised properties during Level 4 we are getting people through at a steady rate.  That said, we are governed by lots of rules to ensure that safety regulations are followed and limit person-to-person contact, and while this makes the process a lot slower, we are committed to ensuring everyone is safe, and so that we can move down levels fast.

Last year when we were in lockdown there was a lot of conversation regarding conducting routine inspections which generally insurance companies require at minimum frequencies.  The insurance council helped out by advising that if we were unable to conduct an inspection within the specified timeframe it would not affect any possible claims which was fantastic.  What they did not rule on however was whether the inspection still needed to be undertaken, or if it could just be missed.  We asked our landlords to check with their insurance companies directly, and 99% came back to us advising that we did need to catch up on the inspection.  This seemed in a lot of cases to be pointless, as it made the time between inspections very short in a lot of cases.  This time around, all going well, the time we are unable to inspect will be less, so hopefully we will not run into the same problems, as I am sure you realise how for some tenants this was quite obtrusive.

I have heard that some property managers are asking tenants to conduct a virtual inspection for them, however in my opinion this is not a good option and the advice we have received is that even with a virtual inspection, we would still have to complete a physical one when we were allowed.  I also recently read an article where a tenant was not happy being asked to complete a virtual inspection, so it is certainly not something we are implementing.

This lockdown we have not yet been given any advice in relation to inspections, so will continue to work through as we did last time.  All going well, by the time this is published we could be in level 2 where, using lots of safety protocol we should be allowed to once again start inspecting properties.

Stay safe, and we are of course all hoping to get down levels at a fast pace, and stay here!

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