Summer 2015 – Trust us with your rental property
 

232A3878webTrust us with your rental property

Cowdy & Co. is a family business, and proudly – fiercely – Cantabrian.

We’re dedicated solely to this great city and region and we have no plans at all to change that focus. This is one of the reasons why we’re a great choice for landlords who need a hand managing their rental properties.

But being local isn’t the only reason you should trust your property management to us. Not by a long shot. Here’s a few great reasons to get on board with the Cowdy & Co. Property Management team:

  1. We’ve got years (and years) of experience. Cowdy & Co. began its Property Management division back in 1980, and when you add it all up, our team has literally hundreds of years combined experience in property management. We’re also all highly qualified and we maintain ongoing professional development to ensure continued high performance.
  2. We are an award-winning team – winners of the REINZ Small Residential Office of the Year award 2014.
  3. Our bespoke service is as far from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach as you can get. Our portfolio management approach means both landlords and tenants are able to build a strong, long term relationship with their dedicated Property Manager.
  4. Your tenants are our valued clients. We undertake meticulous reference and credit checks and personally interview each applicant to ensure we get the best possible tenant for a property. We then maintain open lines of communication to ensure that our performance to them as tenants is as great as it is for our landlords.
  5. Our approach to marketing and technology is second to none, and our online self-service portal will save all parties plenty of time and stress.
  6. Rental income is deposited twice a month into your accounts, with statements provided online and via email or post. And before your rental income gets to you, it’s in a very safe place – in our regularly audited trust account.

At Cowdy & Co. Property Management, we guarantee that if we fail to meet any of our written service standards, the next three months management of your property will be provided to you free of charge. So, if you’ve got a rental property and you want someone you can really trust to look after it, give us a call on 03 355 6686 today. We’d love to have you on our team.

Cowdy & Co. proud to be supporting the Art Foundation

Looking into Chapman's HomerHere at Cowdy & Co. we are passionate about art and see it as an important part of our city.

After the earthquake in 2011 we have seen the city progress with plenty of art popping up around us. We believe this reflects the strength of our people and helps us build a sense of spirit together.

With this in mind we are now proud donors to the Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation. The Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable organisation with its primary objective being to provide ongoing, practical support to the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu for collection development and special projects such as development of international exhibitions.

Bill Culbert - BebopCowdy & Co. are delighted to be able to help the Foundation with their goals of:

  • a 5 million dollar endowment fund by the end of 2019 to ensure the Gallery can build a collection of which we’re all proud;
  • 5 great works in 5 years to tell the world a little bit about us through this time.

The first of the five works the gallery has purchased is Michael Parekowhai’s ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’, the bronze bull atop the piano.

The second significant work is Bill Culbert’s Bebop, a 15-metre-long, ceiling-hung light installation. Janice, Andrew and Olivia were lucky enough to see Parekowhai’s work at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 and Culbert’s installation at 55th Biennale in 2013!

The gallery’s most recent installation by Martin Creed was funded by the late Neil Graham whose generosity is well known to the people of Christchurch.

Everything is going to be alrightThe 46-metre long neon light installation ‘Everything is Going to Be Alright’ is on the Worcester Boulevard wall of the gallery and reflects the determination and hope of our city.

Cowdy & Co. are very excited about the imminent reopening of the Gallery on 19 December and we urge locals and visitors alike to stop in for a visit.

If you are interested in supporting Jenny Harper and her team with this wonderful cause please follow the link to make a donation https://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/support/foundation/

Christchurch Rental Market Update

Over the last couple of months in Christchurch we have certainly experienced a softening of the rental market. This is despite our Christchurch rental properties being at their best quality due to many properties having been rebuilt, repaired and redecorated.

The market appears to have returned to ‘pre-quake’ rent levels, with some properties experiencing periods of vacancy that haven’t been realised in the last 5 years. This market trend is largely due to supply exceeding demand across all rental brackets which is steadying rents and increasing vacancy rates.

At the end of September we had 31 properties for rent compared to 21 at the same time last year. Tenants have lots of properties to choose from, ranging from new builds to ’as is where is property’, some of which are uninsured.

The steadying of the market has been evident especially over the winter months with tenant enquiries dropping off dramatically which was a common trend in the rental market ‘pre-quake’.

At times properties are remaining vacant for months until they are tenanted. Mid-range rentals are showing the greatest adjustment overall with decreasing rent levels.

As tenancies come up for renewal, rents are largely either remaining the same or in some instances we are seeing reductions.

We have however seen an improvement in enquiry levels with the warmer weather and we are looking forward to a strengthening of the market during the summer months.

In contrast to the general softening market, demand for cheaper housing below $350 per week remains strong. We have also experienced that demand for unfurnished long term rental homes priced at $1,000-plus per week is high.

This market is attracting home owners, many of whom have a family pet that they wish to also live at the property. We are finding that owners who previously would not allow pets in their properties are being much more lenient to secure such tenants.

Many of the short-term furnished properties that were most sought after following the earthquakes of 2010/2011 and were funded by insurance claims are now sitting empty as many people now have their own properties repaired and have been able to move home.

Most rental owners are now removing the furniture and taking a much reduced rent for long term tenancies to ensure their properties are not left vacant.

Overall, landlords should be conscious that there were outstanding rent increases and unusually low vacancy rates ‘post-quake’. While some rents are now remaining the same or decreasing, owners should not be concerned as we are experiencing the market at a higher than ‘pre-quake’ level.

The fact that we now have a greater supply of properties shows the great progress our city is making in the rebuild with the silver lining being that many landlords now have an upgraded property from EQC and insurance repairs and consequently higher rents than ‘pre-quake’.

By Janice Cowdy

There’s real value in “as-is-where-is” sales in commercial properties

Blackheath, the distinctive historic brick building on the corner of Durham and Wordsworth streets was recently sold by our commercial agents, Sam Cowdy and Bill Riding.

This sale, and other similar recent sales, such as the old Victoria St Ski Shop sold by Craig Thiele and Sam Cowdy, highlights the value to be had in selling earthquake damaged commercial property ‘as-is-where-is’ instead of selling with the insurance claim and impending repairs attached to the sale.

The Blackheath building, built between 1876 and 1988, has been strengthened and refurbished over the years. Whilst it sustained some earthquake damage, the insurance contract is for an “as new” replacement, and the lovely old building was deemed “not economic to repair” by the insurer.

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Outside of the insurance world, however, it’s considered a safe and repairable building and the new owner is likely to make different insurance arrangements as they look to the future. Blackheath is 95% tenanted and the new owner stands to see a rental return of over $500,000 a year. Other similar opportunities are popping up all over the city. If you are interested in these style of properties please register your interest with one of our commercial team today.

Property Developers and Investors: Risks Associated with Selling New Houses

If you are a residential property developer, or an investor who buys and sells new houses, then the points below will refresh your knowledge on some of the important risks associated with your business.

  1. You hire a builder to build the new house. On completion, you sell the house. Your biggest risk isthat you’ll be liable to the buyer for failings on the part of your builder. This is because the Building Act 2004 (Act) makes you responsible to the buyer, and subsequent homeowners, for complying with the builder’s warranties implied by the Act. Any attempt to exclude or limit those warranties in the contract will be invalid. In summary, the warranties are that the works have been carried out properly and competently, with reasonable care and skill, and in accordance with the plans and specifications and the Building Code. So you might receive a claim some years after you have sold the house.
  2. If you are an investor in trade who buys a new house for the purpose of on-sale, the Act also makes you liable to the buyer and subsequent homeowners for any breach of the implied warranties.
  3. For contracts dated on or after 1 January 2015, the Act imposes a 12-month defects liability period. Homeowners will be entitled to ask you to fix defects within a reasonable period at your cost. You will not be in the clear once the defects liability period ends. The implied warranties and any other obligations relating to the building work will continue for 10 years.
  4. In addition to paying the costs to remedy a defect or breach, you will be liable under the Act for reasonably foreseeable losses resulting from the breach. Those costs could be considerable. An example of losses that would likely be included is the replacement of carpets damaged after a defective roof leaks.
  5. For contracts dated on or after 1 January 2015, it’s important to be aware that homeowners can no longer claim against sub contractors for defects.
  6. You will probably receive a builders guarantee after completion of the works. An example is the Registered Master Builders Guarantee. You should not assume the guarantee will completely protect you from the risks outlined above. They have limitations and exclusions.Take advice on what is and what isn’t covered.The main issue is that a homeowner’s reasonably foreseeable losses (see 4 above) are not covered by builders guarantees so they would potentially become your responsibility.
  7. You will have a defence to a claim if the alleged breach is caused by:
    – a cause independent of human control
    – someone that the builder was not responsible for(not subcontractors or employees)
    – failure to carry out normal maintenance
    – failure to carry out repairs as soon as practicable after the defect becomes apparent.
  8. What can you do to manage your risk? Here are a few points.
    – select the right builder; someone who is financially secure, has an excellent track record, and who is well established.
    Take advice on the building contract.
    – monitor the quality of the works during the project. Hire an expert to review on completion of the important stages.
    – obtain a comprehensive report from a builder before you agree to buy, if you are an investor.

Kahu Simmonds is a Partner in the Commercial team at Saunders Robinson Brown. Kahu’s contact details are:
03 977 2639 or kahu.simmonds@srblaw.co.nz.

 

ASK AN EXPERT: “CAN I SELL OVER SUMMER?”

halfhouse2The answer is an emphatic, “Yes you can!”, in fact, Summer is a great time to sell your home.

Houses always look their best in the warmer months, as sunshine kills off moss and mildew, and inside, houses will be warmer, sunny and light. Gardens look better in full bloom, lawns look lush and healthy.

More people are out and about in the warmer months – which means they’re more likely to go to an open home or drive past a ‘For Sale’ sign.

People are generally more positive when the weather is warmer -which can make them more optimistic and prone to making important decisions.

The Cowdy & Co. team work right through the Summer months, so if you’re thinking about making a move or selling an investment property, give us a call on 03 355 6555 today!

 

New to Cowdy & Co.
Olivia Cowdy

Cowdy & Co. Division: Property Management

olivia web2I live in: Papanui
How long have I lived in Christchurch: I was born & raised in Christchurch and returned in September 2015 from living in London & Melbourne for 8 years.
Education: Bachelor of Commerce from University of Otago.
Family: My parents, Janice & Andrew, and brothers, Sam & Nick, who are all involved in Cowdy & Co.
Personal statement: Living overseas, particularly in London, has made it easy for me to travel extensively. Travelling is a huge passion of mine and I love exploring new places. Although I have lived abroad for quite some time, having grown up in Christchurch, I always knew I would return home and work in our family business.
I have gained several years experience in project management at a global HR company specialising in leadership and management. This has allowed me to develop many transferable skills for my career in property management.
I pride myself on putting customers first, ensuring client satisfaction is achieved, and delivering results in a timely manner. I absolutely thrive in a fast paced and challenging environment where I can seek out opportunities to innovate and flex to my clients’ needs.
Previous jobs: Property Manager (Melbourne), M&A firm Office Manager (Melbourne), and Project Manager for IBM (London).
In my spare time: I like to travel as much as possible, go to the gym, play with my puppy & socialise with friends and family.
The charity I support the most: SPCA
Favourite home cooked meal: Grilled halloumi & pomegranate salad – tastes like summer!
Favourite restaurant: Saggio Di Vino on Victoria Street has amazing European cuisine. If you like Japanese food and are visiting London, I highly recommend Roka!
Favourite holiday destination: France, Italy, Fiji, South America…the list is endless!
Favourite thing to do in Christchurch: Spending time with friends & family, reading a book in the sun or taking my pug, Ruby, for a walk around Hagley Park.
Favourite Book: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I love a good plot twist!
Favourite TV show: Breaking Bad & Entourage.

Changes to Property Tax : what you need to know

In May this year, the Government brought in further measures to strengthen the tax rules on property transactions and help Inland Revenue enforce them. These changes took effect on 1 October, and affect all property sales after that date.

Here’s what you need to know:

If you’re buying and selling any property other than your main home, you must provide your IRD number to Land Information NZ as part of the land transfer process.

If you’re a non-resident, you must provide your relevant tax identification number for your home country, plus other relevant ID, such as a passport.

Non-residents also have to have a NZ bank account and subsequently, an IRD number, before any property transactions can take place.

A new ‘bright line” test has been introduced for anyone buying residential property, which supports Inland Revenue’s ‘intentions’ test.

The ‘bright line’ test affects all residential property sold within two years of purchase – and means that any capital gains made on the sale will be taxed.

The exceptions to this rule are if it’s the seller’s main home, it’s inherited from a deceased estate or sold due to a relationship property settlement.

For more information on these changes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’re here to help.

Alternatively, there’s a useful publication put out by Inland Revenue that explains the bright line test in detail. You can check it out here: tinyurl.com/q5qoqfv.

Trees set to lose protection

treesThe proposed Christchurch Replacement District Plan is set to include a significant reduction in the amount
of trees protected from being cut down.

The current list has approximately 1900 trees on it while the proposed change lists only approximately 380 trees in the Schedule of Significant Trees. This would mean that where the tree is on privately owned land the owner would not have to apply for resource consent to remove it.

According to Christchurch City Council planning unit manager, Brigette de Ronde, the new listings are a result of the council applying a stricter selection criteria during a tree assessment done in late 2014. (Fairfax Media).

While some will welcome the change, many are concerned for the impact this may have on the ‘Garden City’.

Public submissions closed on September 3rd and a pre hearing was held on October 28th so we will await the outcome from the official process.

What's Your Home Worth web4