New Zealand Property Investors' Federation

The NZPIF is the umbrella body for 17 local Property Investors' Associations throughout New Zealand.

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Becoming a landlord in a slow property market can be daunting, particularly if you don't know the first thing about tenancy law.

Martin Evans, president of the NZ Property Investors' Association, says that if it is something you are doing temporarily before you put the house back on the market again in a year's time, there is no sense in beefing up on all the property laws.

It's best to employ a property manager for the period you are renting, if you are not used to the industry. For those wanting to remain amateurs, there is a plethora of property management companies out there, and the numbers are growing at the moment, says Evans.

If you are considering becoming a property investor, you might want to do some reading on tenancy law and join a local property investment association.

Evans is a member of the Independent Property Managers Association which is run by the landlords and is non-REINZ affiliated.

These property managers don't charge tenants the usual letting fee of one week's rent plus GST as the real estate office rental departments do. For this reason independent property managers are popular with tenants, he says.

Evans' advice to new landlords when selecting property managers is to research the companies well. Ask how long they've been in business, ask for references, and when talking to previous clients, find out how good the company is at responding to emails.

Bad communication is one of the biggest complaints landlords give about their property managers, says Evans, whose Christchurch company, A1 Property Management, runs 500 properties.

The property manager says you should invite a few property managers to your home and get their estimates on the kind of rent you should be asking. They generally charge 10 per cent of the rent as their fee. Some will charge 7 per cent and charge for extras such as $35 to do a house inspection.

Evans advises hiring property experts who are experienced with your kind of house. In other words, you don't want an apartment property manager looking after your family home.

Evans also suggests that you add some bells and whistles to your house before putting it out for rent.

A fan in the bathroom is a good idea as tenants don't always think to open the window. A range hood fan is another necessity if you want to advertise your house as an executive property asking a top rent.