Omicron: our response

Happy New Year and welcome to 2022. It was great to have a proper summer and many New Zealanders enjoyed the freedom (including the team at Wendells). We’re all back at work now and adjusting to our new Omicron Health & Safety policies to make sure that we are keeping you, our tradesmen and the wider community safe.

We have reviewed our current Covid Healthy and Safety policies to now operate at red and orange alert levels (under the Governments traffic light system). We’ve observed both The Real Estate Institute NZ and the Ministry of Health recommendations on top of our own independent risk assessments. The brief remains the same; keep our people as safe as possible, reduce the spread of Covid as best we can and continue to take the best care of our customers.

Wendell Operating Procedure under Red & Orange Alert Levels

Our office is working in 2 separate bubbles

To reduce the risk of contagion (and to ensure that the business has the in-office support required to operate) our team have split in to two bubbles and work a week on/week off in the office. The ‘off-week’ team are working normal hours at home.

Our office is open by appointment only.

Reach us on mobile and email. With consistent, effective levels of communication we’ve reduced the need for most office visits. We’re meeting tenants on site for key uplifts and with many people still working from home the need for tradesman’s key collections have reduced significantly as they can simply arrange a time directly with a tenant.

Routine Inspections are remote where possible

If our tenant is settled and there are no ongoing maintenance concerns we will continue to complete routine inspections through our Inspection Express App. This means the tenant photographs and inspects the property themselves. If they are unable to complete this we will endeavour to go through. We are finding it a battle though as over half the inspections booked must be cancelled or postponed due to tenants getting sick, or reporting visited ‘areas of interest’. Remote routine inspections remain the most efficient way for us to ensure continuity of care for our customers under these restrictions and health risks.

Insurance companies are unclear about what this means for them. Some have said a physical inspection is required ‘when possible’ and others have said 6 months between physical inspections is allowed and many have not come back to us (or to owner enquiries) at all. If you need clarification for your personal situation please do check with your insurer. Each situation is unique though, so please ensure you get the advice you need to make the decision best for you.

Property Maintenance & Repairs

All maintenance is possible under Alert Level Red and Orange. I would like to stress though that due to the likely spread of Omricon in the community we will suffer delays in stock and building materials. A builder recently reported he was un-able to secure gib to complete jobs and when he enquired with his suppliers they said they suspected this to worsen across the industry. We are also likely to have tradesman off sick, which will add to the backlog further. Expect delays, material cost increases, cancellations from tenants as we have already seen over the past year.

We can rent properties and move at Alert Level Red and Orange

Under Alert Level Red & Orange we can market & show properties for rent. We do this with very careful measures in place, following all Worksafe, Ministry and REINZ guidelines to minimise the risk to any of you, our team and tenants. I must stress that we require the vacating tenants permission (and some are beginning to push back with Omricon in the community) and we need the incumbent household to be healthy. To combat this we are using video tours in our marketing and working hard to rent things quickly (just in case).

Thank you to our community for your continued support and understanding. For more information and advice on Covid-19 please reach out to Healthline 0800 611 116 or click here

Kia Kaha