Why your rental property DIY fix-it jobs will no longer cut it

The changes to the Health & Safety at Work Act has had a major impact on anything deemed to be a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (known as a PCBU). While such a description obviously includes all our work places, it also encompasses every rental property in New Zealand, regardless of it being managed by a property manager or being self-managed by the owner.

Impact on landlords

This means that your property manager, or you as an owner of a self-managed property, has the full health & safety responsibility of providing a safe work place. This responsibility extends to include any contractor, any owner performing any task at the property, and the tenant.

This does not necessarily mean you are responsible for the tenants every action, but it does include anything that may happen to the tenant through any action or lack of action of any of the other people performing work on your property.

Property owners that are managing their own properties may not be aware of how these legislative changes impact them, and may not be taking appropriate steps to ensure everyone working on their property is working safely.

It’s also now incredible risky (from a health & safety perspective) to ask your mates or family to perform maintenance work on your property. You could be facing serious fines if there is an accident, so the costs savings just aren’t worth it.

Contractors performing work on your property may also be increasing their charges to cover the costs of complying with the new changes – so your property maintenance costs could increase.

Impact on property managers

Property managers should now be updating policies on health & safety to ensure contractors working on your property are following the right processes and are working as safe as they can be at all times.

The changes may also see a shift of more Mum and Dad property investors moving to have their properties managed for them to reduce their risk of getting it wrong.

The impact on tenants

It’s unlikely that tenants will see rents rise from these changes so the impact is minimal if not non-existent. It’s the recent amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act around insulation standards that may have the greatest impact – but more on that later.

Nick Phillips