Debt payments dried up

Question from Steve updated on 15th May 2013:

Our ex tenants still owe over $1,000 from rent arrears and other bills. They entered in an agreement with us to pay a much larger amount off and have been making intermittent payments over the past year. However payments have dried up. What are our options apart from contacting the Tenancy Tribunal?

Our expert Alan Bruce responded:

You may wish to contact your ex tenants in the first instance and remind them of the payment terms you had agreed to at the end of the tenancy. You may also wish to highlight that failure to pay the amount owed may result in an application to the Tenancy Tribunal, which could result in additional costs being incurred (e.g. enforcement costs), and added to the remaining debt. If you are unable to resolve the matter directly with the tenant, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the debt formalised. Once you have a Tenancy Tribunal Order, you are able to enforce the order either through the collections unit at the District Court, or through a debt collection agency. Further information regarding the enforcement process can be viewed at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Building and Housing Group’s website (http://www.dbh.govt.nz/tenancy-az-e). Please note that applications to the Tenancy Tribunal filed by a landlord more than two months after the tenancy has ended must include a current address where notices can be served on the tenant. You could also consider contacting private debt collection agencies to see if they are able to assist with collecting the debt on your behalf. However, they may require a document which formalises the debt, such as a copy of a Tenancy Tribunal order. To discuss your situation further, or for further information about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, or for information about the enforcement process, you can visit the Ministry’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or phone 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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