New Legislation Around Smoke Alarms & Insulation Comes Into Force From 1 July 2016
Jul 1 2016
New government regulations have been introduced to make insulation and smoke alarms mandatory for all rental properties.

RTA Implications for landlords

Insulating your rental property is worth the investment and new regulations to the Residential Tenancies Amendment (RTA) are making insulation and smoke alarms mandatory.

An insulated home improves the value of rental properties and limits maintenance issues associated with cold and damp. Protect your asset and your tenants' health and comfort - they will stay in your properties for longer, and your maintenance costs will be less.

What is required and by when?

The new Residential Tenancies Act has some components which have now started from 1 July 2016.

New Tenancy Agreements must declare the level and type of ceiling, underfloor and wall insulation.
All tenanted properties must have working smoke alarms. Landlords will be responsible for ensuring an operational smoke alarm is in place, and tenants responsible for replacing batteries or notifying landlords of defects. Long life (10-year) photoelectric alarms will be required where there is no existing alarm or when replacing an existing alarm.

From July 2019 all residential rental properties must have adequate ceiling and underfloor insulation (with specific exemptions, such as where ceiling/underfloor is inaccessible etc).

What level of Insulation is required?
The level on insulation required depends on whether your property currently has any insulation or not and what condition the existing insulation is in.

Existing insulation must be dry, in reasonable condition, with no gaps and meet a minimum requirement for ceilings of R1.9 level for timber framed homes or R1.5 for masonry homes. Equivalent underfloor insulation levels being R 0.9 for all homes.

Currently uninsulated houses will need to insulate ceilings to either R2.9 or R3.3 depending on regional zone and underfloor to R1.3.
Wintery Blast Comes to Dunedin
Apl 16 2015
If we wanted a reminder that winter was just around the corner, then an evening of hail stones, and waking up to a dusting of snow on the hills was that shock reality. Hard to believe that 2 days later we were back to warm autumn days.

With daylight saving just ended, this is a good time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, get your chimney cleaned, and ensure the filters on the heat pump are cleaned regularly.

While you are checking filters, make sure you clean out filters regularly on your clothes drier and that your room is well vented when using your drier.

Remember when burning wood in your log burner to only use dry wood, leave that rain wet wood until it is completely dried out.

Open windows during the day to dry your bedrooms out from night condensation and changing the air in the bedroom daily keeps you healthy and reduces mould build up on windows and curtains. Wipe away any excess moisture off windows daily.

As the sun goes down, ensure curtains are closed to trap natural heat in before nightfall.

They say this will be a mild winter, but after this weeks snowfall, I am not convinced.
OPM Finalist in LPMNZ National Awards
Apl 17 2014
What an amazing honour for our little company from Dunedin to be a finalist for not one, but three national awards. Our own Marietta is a finalist for Excellence in Corporate Support. OPM is also a finalist for Excellence in Customer Service Award; what a great category to be a finalist in, and then there is the ultimate of all awards: Property Management Company of the Year ... OPM is up against two amazing Auckland companies for this award. The winners are announced at the LPMNZ Conference in Queenstown at the end of May.
A Tribute to Great Tenants
Feb 15 2014
Todays post is a tribute to all the great tenants that we have in our properties managed by Otago Property Management.

Our landlords want us to choose people who will look after their homes as their own, and I believe that our tenants want landlords who will appreciate if they pay the rent, they should be looked after too.

Our job is a bit like that of a matchmaker and then once we have the two parties matched, its like a marriage.

How do we know when we have great tenants ... a few examples:

Blocked drain, helpful tenant assisting the plumber, appreciative plumber and owner, grateful property manager, pizzas all round.

You know you have good tenants when they call to find out when are you coming for your next inspection as they have an improvement they want to show you.

You know you have a good relationship with your tenant when they drop into the office with a card with handprints of their newborn baby twins for their property manager.

So to all our wonderful tenants who make our job so rewarding, a big thankyou from the Team at OtagoPM and all our Owners.

Strong Demand for Quality Rentals in 2014
Jan 10 2014
What an amazing start to the New Year for our investors. We are experiencing strong demand for quality rentals and a lot of our properties have been renting within days of being listed and some prior to even hitting the internet.

At the end of 2013 we introduced New Zealand's first Rental Property WOF. This has been a positive incentive for both our owners and tenants alike. Our owners properties are renting faster than other properties on the same market, and tenants are confident with the quality of property they are renting. A win win for all.

We also offer prospective tenants the opportunity to register for our Property Finder Service, so if we don't have the property currently listed, this puts them ahead of the queue and we can often offer them a property prior to listing on the open market.
Rental Property Warrant of Fitness Launched
Nov 7 2013
Otago Property Management has now launched OPM's WOF Rental standards to our owners and WOF reports on listed properties will be available for prospective tenants to make informed decisions on when choosing a rental property with OPM.

At Otago Property Management we have developed our standards for rental accommodation that will not only meet, but we believe, will exceed planned industry standards.

This WOF is now being offered to all new and existing owners and OPM's specialised staff will now complete a comprehensive and photographic audit of all properties that are part of this programme.

At this time OPM's intention is to encourage all new and existing owners to be part of this WOF programme and to benchmark where their property sits. Where shortfalls are identified OPM will work with owners to increase their overall rating by offering opportunities to take advantage of existing insulation and energy saving schemes available to them.
Otago Property Management Rebranding
Jul 14 2013
At Otago Property Management we think it is important to keep reinventing ourselves and so our staff sat down recently and decided on how we could rebrand ourselves.

One of the greatest entertainers in the world, Madonna remains successful even at 50 years of age, due to her ability to move with the times and keep re-inventing herself and her music.

Have you ever looked at the Google logo online - every couple of days it keeps changing and keeps viewers interested and noticing them. At Otago Property Management we like to be noticed too and to have your properties noticed too.
We like to keep evolving and changing just as our industry and clients needs continue to change too.

Here's some of the changes to our new look. Let us know what you think?

Keep an eye out for Wendy and Bronnie as they drive very slowly and respectfully around town in what has been affectionately named as Gin (License Plate GT).
What Property Managers do Best!
Jun 28 2013
It only floods once every 100 years in Dunedin, and it only snows once a year doesn't it? So statistically speaking what are the chances on that one day a year, and that one in a 100 years, there is going to be a major disaster at your rental properties.

Well after 20 years managing and owning rental properties, I can guarantee that if there is going to be a problem it's always going to happen on the wettest and coldest day of the year and always after 5 p.m. or on a public holiday.

This year was no exception. Biggest snow fall in the history of Otago is forecast and we receive a call from one of our tenants to say that the fascia on the side of their two storied house had just fallen to the ground and that the inside of their attic space was now exposed to the elements.

As a property manager, you sometimes wonder "is this a real emergency" or can it wait until the morning. Are the tenants exaggerating or is this for real? Well with snow forecast to sea level for the next 5 days it seemed prudent that we should act quickly as in another couple of days perhaps no one would be able to get to them and we didn't want to be left with a hole in the side of our house exposed to the elements.

An emergency phone call to our tradesmen Builder to assess the safety of the house, and advise if an evacuation is needed. Then after scrambling around in a dark two storied roof space, high above the ground, the house is secured from the incoming storm.

The owner is unable to be contacted to be advised of the extent of the damage, so along with accompanying photos, and works orders, the owner is emailed and the insurance company contacted on his behalf.

Within 24 hours, the insurance assessor is on site and the repair is underway from our competent tradespeople and what could have been a major crisis has been controlled.

All in a nights work for our busy property management department. All our preferred contractors are on call to us 24 /7 just as our staff are to our clients. What would you have done in the same situation - waited till morning, only to find that the hill suburbs are inaccessible for the next three days due to snow, or act immediately? Making informed decisions and responding to emergency situations is what the staff at OPM are trained to do, and they do it well.
Kitten in the Ceiling - What would you do?
May 15 2013
Our office recently received a call from one of our tenants to say they could hear a cat meowing in the ceiling / floor space of their two storied house. We have all seen the programmes on TV, you call the RSPCA or the Fire Brigade and someone comes out and rescues the cat.

Well this is Dunedin, so perhaps not so easy. No offers of volunteers from the RSPCA who didn't do cat rescues, and our property managers thought that calling the Fire Brigade might be a bit extreme. So the OPM team looked at their team of experts and decided to give Pest Gone a call, not that we thought the cat was a pest, but that this company had recently been to the property to cure a rodent problem, the very reason Kitty probably chased someone into the tight spot it was in.

With a bit of coaxing our wonderful tenant and the Pest Gone Team were able to get Kitty to come to a hole in the ceiling where a downlight had been popped out and a little head poked out. The hole was too small for Kitty to squeeze through so with a little cosmetic surgery on the ceiling, Kitty was rescued and calm was restored again.

Our owner was pleased, our tenant was pleased, and we had a happy ending as Kitty apparently was known to get into some tight spots in the neighborhood in the past and was a much loved family pet.