Blog - All

COVID-19 Protection Framework

26-Jan-2022 10:00:00

HAR_1rtymcb1_PropertyManagementFocusBlog Images-Jan22_v1

New Zealand moved to the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF) on Friday 3rd December 2021, also known as the Traffic Light System. The traffic light settings may change depending on what action is required to protect the health system and at-risk populations. In all settings, property management services can go ahead, with some restrictions.

In accordance with the CPF, Residential Property Management services fall under the general in-home services category. This excludes Open Rental Homes, which follow the same rules as Gatherings. Some restrictions are based on whether My Vaccine Pass (MVP) is used or not. When My Vaccine Pass is used, this means that only vaccinated people will have access to the service or viewing a property.

Regardless of the settings, our property managers are equipped to work from home if required, with access to our data and information systems. We are available to respond to you or your tenants’ questions by phone or email.

Rent arrears

Tenants are liable for all rent owed regardless of the traffic light setting. However, in the event that your tenants experience financial difficulty during this period, we are advising them to contact Government agencies to apply for support if needed.

Moving house

Moving house is permitted under all traffic light settings, however there may be regional boundary restrictions in place that tenants need to be aware of. The Minister can apply restrictions to tenancy terminations if there are COVID-19 public health requirements to stay at home.

Routine inspections

In-person inspections of rental properties can take place as long as records are kept for contact tracing purposes. It is recommended that everyone follows public health guidance of physical distancing and mask wearing. If a tenant has genuine concerns about access into their home, they are encouraged to discuss this with their property manager.

Maintenance

Tradespeople can enter the property to do any necessary repairs or maintenance. If the repairs or maintenance are not necessary, then landlords will need to get the tenants' consent. Records must be kept for contact tracing purposes, and it is recommended that everyone follows public health guidance such as physical distancing and mask wearing.

Tenants who have genuine concerns about access into their home during this time should talk to their property manager and if the maintenance or repairs are not urgent, landlords and tenants may agree to have the work completed at a later date.

Viewings

In-person viewings and open homes can happen as long as public health measures are followed, such as physical distancing, record keeping and mask wearing. If the property being viewed is tenanted, landlords will need consent from the tenants.

If My Vaccine Pass is used, then open homes must be limited to 100 people with 1 metre physical distancing in the red traffic light setting. There are no restrictions on the number of people in orange or green settings.

If My Vaccine Pass is not used, then open homes must be limited to 25 people in red, 50 people in orange, and 100 people in green, with 1 metre physical distancing.

If a vacating tenant has genuine concerns about access to their home and does not allow access for viewings, this can prove difficult to enforce. Recent Tribunal hearings have favoured the tenant and not allowed access when, for example, there is only two weeks remaining of the tenancy.

Vaccinated tenants

There are no grounds for landlords to demand that only vaccinated tenants reside in their property under any traffic light setting. Other measures can be taken to mitigate any risk to themselves, tradespeople who may attend the property, or to the tenants themselves. If a landlord does know the tenant’s vaccination status, for example when using MVP at a rental viewing, the landlord must follow the guidelines under the Privacy Act with regards to storing personal information and only use it for the purpose for which it was intended, which would be to allow access to the property for viewing purposes.

If you have any questions or concerns about how Harcourts operates under the traffic light settings, please do not hesitate to contact your property manager. We remain committed to maintaining the highest level of service to you during all traffic light settings.

These articles were featured in Property Management Focus Issue 1, 2022

Topics: Inspection, Moving House, Tenants, COVID-19