How to be an effective landlord while living abroad

KEA - OctoberAs a Kiwi expat, maintaining a foothold in the local housing market is a smart idea. For some, it’s about having a place to eventually come home to. For others, it simply makes good financial sense. Regardless of your reason for having a rental property in New Zealand, you’ll need to know what’s expected of you as a landlord and how you can best manage your property from abroad.


Appoint a local agent

Under the New Zealand Residential Tenancies Act, any landlord who is absent from New Zealand for more than 21 consecutive days must appoint a local agent. This agent can be a professional property manager or it can be a private individual, such as a friend or family member.

Regardless of who you choose, your agent will assume your responsibilities as a landlord and will be the tenant’s first port of call if an issue arises. To ensure your tenants know who to contact, you’re obliged under the Act to provide them with your agent’s name, contact details, and address for service.


Be wise when appointing your agent

Managing an investment property can be a complex task. From choosing the right tenants through to repairs and maintenance, tenancy issues and legislation ins and outs, there’s a lot involved. Find out more about your rights and responsibilities.

At times, it can be tempting to cut out the middle man and ask a friend or family member to manage the rental property in your absence.  While this may save you money up-front, you’ll need to consider whether it’s a sensible long term solution. Expecting a family member to manage all of the day to day hassles can end up being a big burden to carry.

Appointing a professional for the job can help remove the stress involved, optimise your returns and get you better rental rates.  Find out more about how a Property Manager could help you.


Dealing with the time difference

All properties require some form of on-going maintenance and repair work. Keeping on top of this can be a time consuming task, made even more difficult when you live overseas and need to factor in the different time zones. If you have a professional property manager, you can simplify the process by setting a limit to which they can spend money on repairs and maintenance at their discretion.


Tax obligations

As the owner of a rental in New Zealand, you’re required to declare any income received from that property, even if you’re considered to be a non-resident for New Zealand tax purposes. The Inland Revenue Department can provide you with the forms and information needed to understand your residency status and tax obligations, or for specialist advice, contact a Chartered Accountant or tax specialist.


Keeping your finger on the pulse

In the ever changing real estate market it’s important to keep up to date with any changes that may affect you as a New Zealand property owner. Whether they’re legislative changes, market updates or general tips and advice, having a Property Manager on hand to answer your questions will prove invaluable. Get in touch with a Barfoot & Thompson Property Manager, or subscribe to the free monthly e-newsletter for market updates, helpful tips and advice.