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A Cautionary Tale

February 20, 2024

“I’d just like to pick your brains…”  that is how the conversation always starts, but the despair and stress is never far behind that light-hearted opening.

My poor friend Sarah has been through the wringer managing her own rental property. The mistakes have been many (and all very avoidable),the first clanger was in the selection process of her first tenant. Her partner’s sister had a friend…bad tenant stories always start with those sorts of distant contacts. The deal was as good as done because she could move in immediately,so convenient! No bond was taken or lodged, and no tenancy agreement entered. Friends help friends after all. The nirvana lasted 3 months. Suddenly no rent was arriving in the account. This was not even noticed for a couple of weeks.

What followed was a very stressful few weeks of unanswered phone calls and messages. Personal visits where Sarah had to drive from Tauranga to Auckland only to find no one ever home – or not answering the door. Lies, pleas, anger, Sarah was distraught, how could they pay the mortgage, how could it have gone so wrong? But then suddenly WINZ swooped in and paid the back rent and there were promises of trying to do better in future. Sarah was now compensated for the lost rent, and the soft hearted soul that she is, knowing that she had made some fundamental mistakes with tenancy agreements and bond decided that they could start again, because she didn’t feel she had any other options.   This story does not end here,it has many sad twists and turns but I am not seeking to write an expose on bad deeds by tenants.

Sarah thinks it should be a fairly easy arrangement,  you have a house, you find a nice person, recommended through friends or family that needs a home,  the two come together and it all works out splendidly.  Although it does not. Life is not that simple and rental property management is not something that you can do half-pied. From tenant selection, to property inspections, to rental arrears management, to tribunal representation, every facet requires full commitment and a professional approach.

I would hope that after Sarah’s third dismal and costly failure she will finally heed the only advice I am now prepared to hand out. Have your rental property managed professionally. It will save you money, stress,and time.

Sharon Bradley
General Manager of Licensees/Training