Many Wanaka home owners choose to earn some extra income by renting out their homes over winter when they don't use them. With the right measures in place to minimise exposure to risk, this can be a rewarding experience.
The facts - The winter season in Wanaka is approximately 16 weeks, running from early June to early October each year. Each year hundreds of seasonal workers and snow loving temporary residents seek out rental houses. As demand exceeds supply when it comes to homes, rents are at a premium - good news for rental home owners.
What are the risks? Every business venture comes with its risks and mention winter rentals and you will hear stories of ski jumps on the roof, flame throwing, drunken parties and damaged properties. If you rent your expensive asset based on a brief meeting with the potential tenant, who seemed so well mannered at the time or a beautifully worded email response (that subsequently turned out to be mum of the actual occupants) - beware. I was asked recently that "its easy to rent houses, why would I pay someone to find tenants?". Indeed - renting without proper background checks, legitimate references and an eye for red flags is easy. Minimising risks by carefully selecting the best candidates takes a bit more work.
Conclusion - While the risks are higher and its not for everyone, if you own a home that you only use from Labour Weekend to Queens Birthday, then winter rentals can net a tidy profit. Careful selection of tenants, coupled with regular inspections and insisting on a bond, will all mitigate risks. Engaging a local property manager who will be driving past your property on a regular basis, is on hand for any maintenance issues and knows the statutes regarding renting, is well worth the peace of mind it affords.