Make sure that when you are managing your own property that you do follow everything up in writing. It is important that if any issues do occur, you have a timeline of events that you can provide should you have to go to mediation or the tribunal. Depending on the issue will determine how you follow up but essentially, you need to keep a log of phone calls that you have, you need to save text messages that you may receive and if there’s any sort of breach, you need to put it in writing and keep a copy of it.
Too often, private landlords will go to the tribunal and lose based on the fact that they don’t have the required information to prove that either any warning was given or that the correct processes were followed or even what dates these events did occur.
Here is our five step plan to ensuring that you keep adequate records and follow up accordingly:
- Identify the situation and make the tenant aware of it. For example, if they are not paying their rent, get in touch with them and explain that their rent is behind and that they have to get the rent paid. Give them until the next working day to get the issue sorted.
- If the breach or the rent is not rectified by the next working day, take further action by writing a letter to the tenant explaining the breach and giving a 14 day timeframe to rectify it. This can be for breaches of the Residential Tenancy Act or for breaches of the tenancy agreement. Do be aware though that they can only breach rules in your tenancy agreement if they are lawful rules that you are putting in there. You can’t opt a tenant into obeying your rules if they are not allowed in the Residential Tenancy Act. By writing a letter, it is now formal and you are now able to take further action with proof that they were given the required timeframes based on the breach.
- Apply to the tribunal and do mediation first.
- If mediation fails, which often it can because a tenant will not turn up to the phone call or in person for the mediation, then you have to move on through to the tribunal.
- Attend the tribunal, have your documentation with you, including timelines, whether it’s text messages, letters or any other proof of warnings or notices given and have their tenancy ended or a plan put in place by the adjudicator.
Following up is what will save you when it comes to having your property managed, whether you do it yourself or the company that’s doing it for you. By having a good trail, you will be able to provide evidence should you need to at a Tribunal hearing.