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Make your rental property safer and more secure.

Simple checks, strengthening key areas and securing potentially dangerous items will help protect your tenants, and your property investment, in the event of a natural disaster. In this section we cover some important things for a landlord or property manager to think about. 

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Get your insurance sorted

Properties are valuable assets, so make sure you have private insurance in place that will enable you to repair or rebuild your property if it suffers natural disaster damage.

More on insurance

EQC automatically covers your property for natural disaster damage if you have a private insurance policy that includes fire cover (most do) in place when a natural disaster happens. This is called EQCover and is generally cover of $100,000 (+ GST) for your home and further cover for land around and under the house. Your private insurance may cover other damage. From 1 July 2019, EQCover increases for residential buildings from $100,000 (+ GST) to $150,000 (+ GST), affecting policy holders on the anniversary date of their existing policy (which is generally the annual renewal date), or if you take out a new policy.

Natural disaster insurance has more about EQCover, private insurance and rebuild costing.

Key things to check:

  • Find out what EQC covers and what your private insurer covers, as well as what is not covered (these are known as exclusions).
  • Check your private insurance cover is sufficient to rebuild your property if a natural disaster damages it to the extent that a rebuild is required. Review your level of cover regularly so it keeps pace with any changes in the value of the property and any increases in construction costs.
  • Can you find your insurance documents? These include the terms of the policy as well as your policy schedule which should record information about the property insured. Should a disaster strike you’ll want to be able to access these documents easily. Store hard copies in a safe place and upload a digital copy to the cloud or to a USB stick.
  • Does your private insurance cover consequential loss, such as loss of rent? It’s not part of EQCover. You might want to consider arranging private insurance to cover you for any financial loss you might incur if your tenants can’t live in the property during a repair or rebuild.  
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Strengthen key areas of your rental property

Taking action now to check and improve key areas of your property could make a big difference to how your rental property stands up to the stresses and strains of a natural disaster – making it safer for your tenants.

It could also improve the likelihood of your rental income continuing after an event.

More on strengthening

Your property’s design, construction and maintenance are all factors that can affect the way your rental property withstands a natural disaster.

Some key areas to consider when thinking about how your property might perform in a natural disaster include:

  • foundations
  • roofs and walls
  • chimneys
  • slopes and retaining walls.

Homeowners has more about items to check and action to take.

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Secure heavy and tall furniture

You could minimise damage to your property and injury to your tenants if you let them secure tall or heavy furniture.

More on securing furniture

This includes securely fixing and fastening items such as bookshelves, drawers, cabinets, TVs and whiteware to walls. Either you or the tenant could also add latches to cupboard doors to help prevent items from falling out. Securing latches can be particularly helpful in multi-storey apartment buildings designed to move in an earthquake.

Tall and heavy furniture has more about securing furniture.

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Secure hot water cylinders

Unsecured hot water cylinders can cause significant damage to a property during and following a natural disaster. The cylinder can shift or leak and pipes can become disconnected.

More on hot water cylinders

If your rental property has a hot water cylinder, secure it to the floor and walls with straps and timber blocks. This is usually a straightforward process, with kits available from local hardware stores.

Securing water cylinders has more information.

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Some things to look for when buying a rental property

When a natural disaster occurs, properties will not necessarily be damaged in the same way or to the same extent.

More on buying

If you’re thinking of buying a rental property you should consider what natural disasters might affect that property and the local area, and how key features such as foundations and chimneys will perform should a natural disaster occur.

One of the best things you can do before purchasing a property is seek advice from an appropriately qualified professional such as a building surveyor, licensed building practitioner or chartered professional engineer. They can tell you whether there are any issues with the property’s design and construction which may affect its performance in a natural disaster.

You can also contact us to see what information is available (for example, historical records, previous claims) on a property. Providing this information through the Official Information Act (OIA) can take up to 20 working days.

Our home buyers information has more detail.


Landlord checklist

  • Make sure you have private insurance for your rental property and review your level of cover regularly.
  • Strengthen key areas of your rental property to reduce the risk of damage and injury.
  • Secure hot water cylinders and allow tenants to secure tall items of furniture.

Translated material

Te Reo Māori
Gagana Samoa