COVID-19 and your property; what you need to know.

New Zealanders did an amazing job of staying home and ‘flattening the curve’ during Alert Level 4, which now means we are at Alert Level 3 and can enjoy a bit more freedom. This also means that our salespeople and property management team can resume work, albeit with numerous procedures and restrictions in place to keep us all safe.  

We understand that we have many clients who found themselves in unique and challenging situations regarding their property at Level 4. If you have any questions at all about the status of your sale or rental property, please contact your salesperson or property manager.

The below FAQ references are not meant as legal advice, but rather Lodge’s understanding of the current rules and regulations. Please refer to a salesperson or property manager for more information.

 

General questions:

 

Are your branches open?

Our branches are closed during Alert Level 3 for the safety of our staff and the public. While you won’t be able to wander in to talk real estate (something that we welcome at any other time!) our entire sales and property management teams are working from home. Our marketing and finance teams are also ensuring that the day-to-day running of the business continues behind the scenes.

 

How can I get in touch with a salesperson or property manager?

Visit our contact page. If you cannot contact your salesperson, contact Jeremy O’Rourke, for any selling and buying advice. If you are a landlord or tenant and cannot contact your property manager, contact Jason Waugh, Lodge City Rentals General Manager.

 

Jeremy O’Rourke

M 021 613 054

E jeremyo@lodge.co.nz

 

Jason Waugh

M 021 880 805

E jasonw@lodge.co.nz

 

When will you re-open your branches to the public?

While the Government issued Level 3 Alert is in place, our branches will not reopen. We are constantly monitoring advice from the Ministry of Health to assess how we will proceed should the Alert Level change.

 

Residential and lifestyle sales:

 

Can I move house or settle a sale during lockdown?

You can move house during Alert Level 3. Your salesperson should be in contact with you to organise settlement, and to deliver sanitised keys while practicing social distancing. Our Lodge truck will not be in use at Alert Level 3.

 

I’m looking at buying a house, what should I do?

Open homes will not be held at Alert Level 3, however private viewings can be arranged through our salespeople. Private viewings must be consented to by the property owner and tenants (if any), so may not be possible for every home. For example, older or health-compromised vendors may choose to not hold viewings at this time. We suggest researching the property thoroughly online before viewing in person. Properties will likely have Virtual Walkthrough options available. Potential buyers will need to register with our salespeople for contact tracing purposes.

 

Will there still be auctions?

Auctions are postponed until further notice. Some vendors have elected to re-start the auction marketing of their home as soon as viewings are possible. If you were interested in a property which was priced as an auction, contact the salesperson. The vendor may be comfortable withdrawing from the auction process and selling by another method.

 

Should I withdraw my property from the market?

We do not recommend withdrawing your property from the market. During the isolation period millions of New Zealanders will be spending more time than ever online. We suggest using this to your advantage and getting creative with your marketing. Speak to your salesperson about social media marketing and other forms of digital marketing.

 

Can I sign a contract during Alert Level 3?

Our team has been working hard to find contactless ways of signing legal documents. All contracts must be explained over the phone and signed without contact. Your salesperson may send you the contract to sign via courier, or send you instructions on how to sign online.

 

Renting and property management:

 

The REINZ resource regarding COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020 can be found here. 

 

Can I view a property during lockdown?

Viewings may be held, but both potential tenants and property managers must adhere to strict social distancing rules. You can view our current available properties at www.lodge.co.nz/rentals. Feel free to contact the property manager for more information.

 

What should I do if I can’t pay my rent?

If your work situation has changed and has left you unable to pay your rent, please contact your property manager urgently. If you do not have their contact details handy, you can find them here.

 

How do I make my rent payment?

All internet banking services are still active during the lockdown period. In some instances, you may be able to make a cash payment through your bank, however many banks are reducing their opening hours. Visit your bank’s website to see if they have altered their hours. If you are unable to make a cash payment and this is your only option, please contact your property manager.

 

Can my landlord increase my rent during Lockdown?

The Government has announced that rents are to be frozen for a minimum of six months. If a rent increase took place before Thursday 26th March 2020 it is valid. Any increases after this date are illegal and will not be pursued by your property manager.

 

Will Lodge continue marketing my property?

Yes, your property will continue to be marketed during the Lockdown period. We can also conduct necessary checks on prospective tenants remotely.

 

Will repairs be done at my property?

Health and safety works and emergency repairs will continue. Property Managers will organise contractors or tradespeople but tenants must stay in isolation in a different part of the property while they are on-site. The contractors will be made aware of this on their work order and they must adhere to this protocol. Routine maintenance can resume at Alert Level 3.

For more information on Government announcements concerning landlords and tenants visit this Ministry of Housing Resource.

 

Please feel free to contact any of our team at any stage for any information or just to chat. Never has home felt so important to us all, and we will continue to help people buy, sell and rent theirs as best we can during this time. Stay safe!