Getting rid of new tenants

Question from Steve updated on 1st March 2012:

New tenants have moved in two and a half weeks ago. They have not paid any money, bond and have not signed an agreement. How can we (in the quickest possible time) get them out? We have sent them a letter stating they have 14 days to pay rent arrears. What are our possible moves? I believe they will not being paying any money.

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

The best way to answer is to ask you a question: Why did you give your tenants access to the property and allow them to move in without signing an agreement or paying any money? Your rental property is a business, and your tenants are your customers! If you don’t take care of the detail you will have endless problems and disagreements. The fact that there is nothing in writing does not stop an oral tenancy agreement from being valid. If you have permitted the tenants to move in on the basis that they will live in the property and pay rent, they have a tenancy agreement. They appear to be in breach, and you have notified them of that fact. The Residential Tenancies Act requires all rent to be paid in advance, and so the first rent was due on day one of the tenancy. You don’t have to wait until the notice’s 14 days expires before taking further action. As soon as a tenant’s rent is in arrears by 21 days, a landlord has a right to end the tenancy. You should, 3 weeks from the first arrears, make application to the Tenancy Tribunal for termination of the tenancy and for an order for payment of arrears. You would probably do well to engage a professional property manager to manage your property. The fees will be far less than the money you have lost by not following sensible procedures before handing over your property.


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