As you would be well aware, on 11 March 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus to be a global pandemic
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic presents us new challenges as we change our behaviour and routines to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Health.
From 4.00pm Tuesday 24 March 2020, in response to government requirements, our offices in both Auckland and Waiheke Island will be closed to the public. Our team are all fully equipped to work remotely should you need to contact your Residential, Commercial, or Body Corporate/Residents Society Managers. We will still be here for you should you need us, and we are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on our staff, property owners and tenants.
What does this mean for Residential or Commercial property owners?
- Property inspections/visits will be postponed by your Property Manager until further notice.
If a visit is essential, Property Managers will be following strict health guidelines.
- Tenants are in self-isolation which means that alongside property inspections/visits, unless there was an emergency or a high priority, maintenance work orders will also be postponed.
- If your residential property is available for rent, our Property Managers may send prospective tenants a video tour instead of conducting viewings with multiple attendees.
- Your Property Manager will be working remotely but will still be contactable as usual.
What does this mean for Body Corporate owners and meetings?
- You will continue to have direct access to your Manager. You will continue to have access to the APM website and your BC’s private web page.
- Annual levies and special levies will continue to be raised and collected as previously approved by owners. We will continue to pay creditors on your behalf in a timely manner including continuing our regular payment run every Thursday.
- Residents self-isolating must advise the Building Manager (if you have one) or the Body Corporate/Residents Society Manager. We recommend putting a sign to the outside of an apartment door stating self-isolation and contact numbers.
- A Body Corporate/Residents Society must hold its AGM no later than 15 months following the previous AGM (often these meetings are held within 12 months so you may have sometime available to delay the AGM). The Committee have the authority to prepare a budget and raise levies to alleviate any cash flow issues the Body Corporate may experience by delaying its AGM. The new budget would then be ratified and/or amended at the AGM held at the later date.
- Legislation does not expressly allow owners to attend meetings by video conferencing/telephone etc. APM’s recommendation is that an owner video conferencing or phoning in etc. completes a proxy form or postal voting form before the meeting. Proxies being preferred in order to obtain a quorum. However, if a quorum isn’t obtained using proxies (or any in person attendees) you can include postal votes in the quorum. If you still don’t get a quorum you can postpone a week and then have the meeting regardless of no quorum.
- Committee Meetings could be by phone or video, but any resolutions passed should be recorded in writing and should ideally be approved by a Committee majority using emails afterwards, to ensure compliance with current case law (especially as no ‘in person’ meeting took place).
- Non-essential services will cease e.g. gardening, pool servicing so our advice is minimise social contact in common areas in the building and use any amenities as little as possible.
- In the event of unforeseen damage to the common areas like a burst pipe or roof leak, APM will co-ordinate an appropriate response through the Committee and our Trades network.
If you have questions, please contact your Body Corporate/Resident’s Society Manager.
What does this mean for tenants?
- If you need to self-isolate or plan to self-isolate, please contact your Property Manager as soon as possible to let them know. More information on self-isolation can be found on the Ministry of Health website here.
- Property inspections/visits will need to be postponed by your Property Manager.
- Unless there was an emergency or a high priority, maintenance work orders will also be postponed.
- If you have urgent maintenance, contact your Property Manager via their cellphone, then please leave a voice message and text them immediately. For any other repairs that are needed, please email your Property Manager, or use the Maintenance Manager App, to submit your maintenance request to your Property Manager.
- The government has initiated a rent freeze which means there will be no rent increases however this does not mean you are not required to pay rent, talk to your Property Manager if there are any issues as we understand its a stressful time and we will work with you to try to ease any worries.
If you need financial assistance, the government has announced a number of measures to help the country during this time.
Anyone in New Zealand who works in events, entertainment, tourism and hospitality (and any other one) industry who have seen their work dry up overnight:
You are all eligible for a 12-week wage subsidy. Lump payment for 12 weeks $585 per week full time $350 per week Part time. You can apply only for the next 12 weeks. They endeavour to pay within 5 days of applying.
Link for Self-employed/ Sole Traders: https://services.workandincome.govt.nz/ess/trader_applications/new
Link for businesses to get staff subsidy ($150,000 max): https://services.workandincome.govt.nz/ess/employer_applications/new
Visit https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/financial-support/ or full information can be found at https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/covid-19-support.html
To find out what help may be available, who to contact for help, call the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am–1am, 7 days a week), or call Work and Income on 0800 40 80 40.
Important Information about COVID-19
COVID-19 can be transmitted from person to person and symptoms can include but are not limited to fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. To stop the spreading it’s important to practice physical distance (at least 1 metre), wash your hands regularly with soap, stay at home if you are sick, cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and then wash your hands, and clean surfaces regularly.
Newshub recently released a handy video on how to thoroughly wash your hands which you can view here: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/03/coronavirus-how-to-wash-your-hands-properly-to-protect-against-covid-19.html
Check out the dedicated Covid-19 website for tips and information on the virus https://covid19.govt.nz/
If you have any concerns about the coronavirus please contact your health professional, or the dedicated health line on 0800 358 5453.
Our Managers are already fully equipped to work remotely away from the office, this does not change your ability to interact with us as you normally have been doing mainly via phone or email or text. Our office will be closed to the public from 4.00pm Tuesday 24 March until the government restrictions have lifted.
Stay safe, practice physical distancing, and we hope you are able to keep in touch (via calling, video chat, group message) with family and friends.
From the team at Auckland Property Management