My oral submission to the Residential Tenancies Amendment bill

For 20 years I have been a full-time property investor not a speculator in Tauranga & Rotorua & 8 years owner of Focus Property Management

I estimate I have had approximately 350 tenants in this time.  

I have only issued one 90-day notice for anti-social behaviour & 2 evictions for rent arrears!

On average tenants stay 2.5 years

I wish to address the end of the 90 day “no cause notice” and a fixed term tenancy, where you give the tenants the sole choice if they want to move out or stay.

The most crucial part of the job as an owner or Property manager is choosing new tenants. It is a judgement call.

The ideal tenants are a professional couple with a few children; HOWEVER, they will always want upmarket properties. My job is to try to match the ideal tenants to a specific house or area! If we get it wrong, it could cost us $1000s of dollars + the stress of dealing with the problems & the time involved.

Every few weeks I get tenants asking me to please give them a chance as they have sorted their past issues out.

On average younger people, flatmate situations, single parents and people with a bad credit history are more likely to cause problems during a tenancy.

At present, if I give a tenant a chance who has had some sort of issues in the past, or could in the future, I can give them a 1-year fixed term tenancy and then review their situation in a year. I have never had to end a tenancy at the end of a fixed term tenancy, but I have mentioned it a few times as an option if anti-social behaviour does not improve. This always works

Here are 3 recent examples

1) Last November a single parent with children who worked part time viewed two new properties I was renting. I had many professional families interested in both Properties.

At the 2nd property they mentioned they had been searching for a new home for months & had always missed out. They would be homeless in 3 weeks as the house they had been renting for 5 years had been sold.

I had been a single parent when I moved to Tauranga as a tenant, so decided to give them a chance & rent them the property. A 1-year fixed term tenancy gives us the opportunity to review things at the end of the term.

2) In January 2 neighbours complained about anti-social behaviour. Many parties & vehicles coming and going.

I organised a meeting with the neighbours & tenants. The elderly neighbours who are homeowners explained to the tenants how their behaviour was making there lives a misery.

I mentioned to the tenants their fixed term tenancy ends in 2 months and they had a choice to make now if they wanted to stay or not. I have not heard from the neighbours since. Problem Solved

3) In February 2 university graduates with good jobs & who were very pleasant, viewed a flat I was renting. They missed out as I had other great applicants.

They rang me and asked why as they would have been perfect tenants. I explained the new tenancy laws being proposed that would increase our risks of tenanting properties in flatting situations & the potential of anti-social behaviour. I had to weigh up the pros & cons of different tenants.

They said why would the Government do that to us?

If you keep these proposed changes as they are, tenants basically know once they are in a property they never have to move out unless they are 21 days in rent arrears.

Where will their incentive be to change their anti- social behaviour?

Will we take a chance on renting to tenants who might be a risk?

Most tenants do not want to rent a house from the Government, they want the choice of where, what type & price of property they live in.

If you take away most of our rights as property owners, we will not be prepared to take a risk on certain tenants, who will house them. We know the Government can not!

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