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Book Review: Working Landlord, Happy Tenants

Book Review: Working Landlord, Happy Tenants ,
By Roger Clist - $29.95 GST

Working Landlord, Happy Tenants

Reviewed by Richard Gruiters, Good Returns

As a landlord who has recently made the decision to take over the management of some of our properties, I found the information supplied in Working Landlord, Happy Tenants was invaluable.

It was able to answer most of the concerns and questions I had bouncing around in my head, particularly in the area of the Residential Tenancies Act, which at the best of times can be a little vague when searching for answers regarding certain situations. Questions I had that even professional Property Managers were unsure of were answered in this book, along with examples to help give a clearer understanding also.

I particularly liked the way the author supplied little snippets at the bottom of the pages as a reference. This gives the reader guidance on various sections of the Residential Tenancies Act that he might have been making reference to on that page.

Although this book is subtitled "Working Landlord, Happy Tenants, Managing your own rental properties A hands-on guide for New Zealanders", the book covers so much more than this.

It is not until a third of the way through the book that the Author starts getting into the nitty gritty of managing your rental properties (and your tenants).

The first 1/3 of the book covered such things as:

- Property Certificates of Title and land ownership, and their differences,

- The pro's and cons of various property types as an investment (houses/flats) and what to look for in each,

- Various ownership structures, and their advantages & disadvantages.

The author delves into areas and details of property management that most other books do not bother with - the little details that you have always wondered about. The author shares some of his lessons learned "in the trenches" - and he still has a positive attitude to it all! He also shares some helpful practical examples of various forms/spreadsheets to use to record financial details, standard letters and forms, along with an explanation of how they work & how to use them.

Some other simple but effective tips that are shared to make the life of a landlord easier include:

- The "Landlord Tool Kit" - I have been caught out a few times being called straight from work to a tenants home and not having the right tools.

- The "Landlord Bag" - full of all the important paperwork you may need on hand.

- Coded deposit books - to differentiate rent deposits from various tenants being deposited into the one bank account.

- The inclusion of an "escape clause" at the signing of a tenancy.

- One-sided bond transfers and how to do it.

- Text messaging your tenant if they have missed their rent - a great way to avoid phone calls that could turn nasty.

- An effective homemade recipe for Ant poison.

- Removing rust marks from vinyl & chewing gum from carpet.

Other areas covered include:

- Complying with tenancy law - finding tenants through to tenants leaving.

- Landlord responsibilities

- Landlord accounting

- Setting up a team of professionals

- Cleaning at the end of a tenancy

This book would be great for landlords of all ages and experiences. With what is covered in the first 50 or so pages, this book would be particularly suited to anyone out there who may be considering pursuing residential investment property seriously, whether they plan on managing the properties themselves, or having them managed by someone else.

It gives a grounded "experience based" view on everything from ownership structures prior to buying property, right through to cleaning up at the end of a tenancy. The opinions of the author throughout the book (particularly towards tenants) are balanced and gives heart to the notion that you don't need to be a cruel landlord to be a successful landlord.

In short, I feel this book has given me the tools and the confidence to deal with the difficult situations I may encounter as a landlord and I feel it would provide the same to any existing landlord or any potential landlord.

To buy your copy of ''Working Landlord, Happy Tenants'' priced at $29.95 incl. GST from the Good Returns Bookstore click here.

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