Confusion Around Alert Levels

Updated: Oct 30


Hello there, well today we are xx days into Lockdown in Auckland and it seems people are a bit jaded and joyless.


As Property Managers, we receive a lot of questions about what tenants and landlords can do at Level three, which Auckland is in at present and may stay in for the foreseeable future

So we would like to clear up some confusion around alert levels.

Tenancy Confusion around alert levels

Auckland is still in Covid Level three - plus we have the introduction of the 'Traffic Light ' System and we have been told that when an area (DHB) gets to 90% vaccinated we move from our Level 3 to 'Red' Traffic light. We can not move from a 'Red' area to any other area than 'Red'.


And although we were led to believe that at 'Red' we can travel, we discovered that we can not go to any other area that is not 'Red'.


It is also not clear if, for example, Auckland is Red and so is Wellington, can we fly there? Except Air NZ just canceled all their domestic flights for November and December - which is a big clue.


So as we try to navigate these changes in the Covid system let us try to explain what Level 3 means for tenants and owners


Moving House

Tenants who live in an Alert Level 3 area can move house to an area at the same Alert Level. Friends and family can’t help you move at Alert Level 3, unless they are already part of your bubble.


If tenants are moving house within an area at Alert Level 3 it is recommended they carry documents to show their travel is permitted for example a tenancy agreement.


Tenants can only move house from an area at Alert Level 3 to an area at Alert Level 2 if they are:

  • Moving house on a permanent or long-term basis because they are either starting new employment, attending tertiary education or purchasing or renting a new principal home or place of residence

  • Leaving to return to their permanent home

  • Required to do so by a court order or

  • Required by law to move for the purposes of detention or to move to a different place of residence that is determined for example by the Police or New Zealand Parole Board.

Tenants moving from an area at Alert Level 3 to an area at Alert Level 2, must carry evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result administered no more than 72 hours before departure from an area at Alert Level 3.


Tenants moving into an area at a different Alert Level must legally have documents on them to show that they are moving house. For example, a tenancy or sales agreement or proof of address. Find out more about moving on the Unite against COVID-19 website.


Moving companies can assist with a move within an area at Alert Level 3 or between areas at different Alert Levels (following appropriate public health measures).


Property Inspections


In-person inspections of rental properties can take place with the tenant's consent, as long as public health measures are followed, including physical distancing, record keeping, and mask-wearing requirements.


Landlords and tenants should discuss and agree on whether in-person inspections are necessary. Tenants who have genuine concerns about access into their home during this time should talk to their landlord. If the inspection is not urgent, landlords and tenants may agree to postpone the inspection to a later date.


Virtual inspections are an option if the tenants agree.


At the end of the tenancy, the landlord and tenant can do the final property inspection together if both parties agree, following public health guidance on physical distancing, record keeping and mask-wearing. Alternatively, the tenants can take photos of the property’s condition before leaving.


Property Maintenance


Landlords should get the tenants' consent before doing any maintenance.

Tradespeople may enter people’s homes to do any repair or construction work, however public health measures must be followed, including physical distancing and record-keeping for contact tracing purposes. Tradespeople must wear face masks.


Landlords and tenants should discuss and agree on access requirements for any repair or construction work.


Tenants who have genuine concerns about access into their home during this time should talk to their landlord. For example, if they or someone they care for are at higher risk from COVID-19.


If the maintenance or repairs are not urgent, landlords and tenants may agree to have the work completed at a later date.


Do not invite people to your home for maintenance if you or anyone in your household is unwell or self-isolating.


Viewings


Open homes and auctions cannot take place in person. They can take place remotely, but if an agent needs to be at the property then they will need the tenants’ consent.


In-person viewings can happen as long as you have the tenants' consent and public health measures are followed, including physical distancing, record keeping, and mask-wearing. At property viewings, a QR code must be prominently displayed or by near the main entrance so people can record their visit. Only one household should visit the property at once.


If the property being viewed is tenanted, landlords will need approval from the tenants, and viewings should only occur when the tenants are not at the property.


No one from a different Alert Level can attend in-person viewings.



Disputes


Tenants and landlords are encouraged to talk to each other and to try to come up with a solution together. Where this is not possible, Tenancy Services will continue to accept and process applications for the Tenancy Tribunal or mediations at Alert Level 3.


During Alert Level 3 there will be no face-to-face hearings or mediations. Where possible, hearings and mediations will take place over teleconference. If this is not possible, the hearing or mediation will be rescheduled.


If you have a hearing or mediation scheduled during COVID-19 Alert Level 3, we will be in contact, by phone, email or text, to let you know what this means for you.


So as we go into November which is often a busier time for moving house, we hope these points have given you some clarity.


And as always, if you need a hand then ask for AGrade - book a free, no-obligation call below.


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