Overseas landlord?

Adriaan asks:
(updated on Tuesday, September 11th 2012)

If I am living overseas (in Australia), can I rent my property privately or does it legally have to be managed by a property manager/agency? How do I find information about this?

Our Experts Answer:

The Residential Tenancies Act requires that any landlord who is absent from New Zealand for more than 21 consecutive days must appoint a local agent. That agent then has all the rights and obligations of the landlord. Failure to appoint an agent in these circumstances is an unlawful act. Bearing this in mind, it would be foolish for you to appoint an agent (and for a person to accept appointment) who is unaware of a landlord’s rights and responsibilities. You should appoint an agent who will represent your best interests and will also be a responsible landlord. That person can be a private individual or the agent can be a professional property manager. The question that you should consider is “who will respond to a midnight maintenance call from a tenant?” Is that a task that you want to impose on a family member? If so, then go ahead. If not, then treat your property as a business and hire a professional manager. If you want further information you should look at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment - Building and Housing website www.dbh.govt.nz

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