We often get asked by rental owners what's the best way to look after a rental when you go on holiday. Simple answer is to get a property manager to look after it, of course! (I am a little biased....)
When you go on holiday, all you have to do is think ahead, and put a plan in place. Make sure all is well maintained with your property well before you go, and let your tenant know that you'll be away, and when you will be back.
You should aim to get someone as back-up support for you. A friend who can respond to an emergency should it arise. Happily, that is unlikely. Leave your tenant with a phone number for that person. Also give your tenant your contact email address, so that they can get in touch with you wherever in the world you happen to be.
So what if things start to go wrong?
Look at it this way – if the washing machine breaks down while you're away, your friend or even you yourself can get a repairman out remotely. If the house catches fire and burns to the ground, your insurance should cover it and there's nothing you can do about it anyway so you might as well enjoy the rest of your holiday in the knowledge that you can finally redecorate the place just how you wanted it.
Generally, nothing of any consequence should happen, but having a back-up support plan will get you through. However, current Tenancy law states that if you manage your own rental property and leave New Zealand for 21 days or more, you must appoint an agent to act on your behalf.
Seems simple enough - just ask old George next door to keep an eye on the place. Or get your brother-in-law Johnno to take care of any issues. Well...... it's not quite as straightforward as that.
If you do leave NZ for 21 days or more, your appointed agent must be a signatory on your tenancy agreement, and also on the bond lodged with Tenancy Services. That means you'll have to complete a Change of Landlord form and send it to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This little detail in the current regulations has tripped up a few rental owners when they have gone off to live in Australia and aimed to manage their own property from there. Simply put, they are breaking the law and can get into some pretty messy situations if the tenancy starts to go wrong.
My advice is of course to get yourself a good property manager who knows the law and can protect your investment far more effectively than old George next door, and who can respond to emergency maintenance or your tenant trashing the place much quicker than Johnno ever will.