How landlords can avoid a 'parasitic' relationship with tenants

Over a third of New Zealanders are tenants and 87 percent of them rent from private landlords and trusts, so how can we ensure these relationships don't turn toxic?

Property Apprentice Founder and CFO Debbie Roberts said while the majority of landlords and tenants actually have a good relationship there are steps people can take to ensure their relationship is "symbiotic" rather than "parasitic".

For landlords, Robert's top tip is: "Treat it like a business".

Treat your tenants like valued clients, give them a warm, clean, dry house to live in and a bit of privacy, Roberts said.

Roberts also said landlords must charge fair market rent.

Fair market rent is the amount a landlord would reasonably expect to receive and a tenant would reasonably pay for a tenancy. In New Zealand, it is a legal requirement to charge fair market rent and a tenant can take their landlord to the Tenancy Tribunal if rent is too high.

Roberts also said it is important to fix things as soon as possible.

"Don't let repairs and maintenance fall behind because it will protect your asset and it will also help your tenants stay happy." 

On the flip side, if something goes wrong in the house tenants need to let their landlords know as soon as possible.

For things like leaks, if ignored it will not only be problematic for tenants but it will also mean insurance won't pay out for things like slow water damage. 

Robertson also said tenants need to remember for a lot of landlords this asset is for their retirement and 78 percent of landlords only own one retirement property.

"That's their retirement nest egg. I think that's something that tenants need to remember as well," Roberts said.

But at the end of the day just like any relationship both sides need to hold up their end to make it work well.

"We need each other," Robert said. "Tenants need somewhere to live and landlords need someone to help cover the cost of providing that home."