My tenant doesn't pay rent on time, what can I do?

Steven cooper asks:
(updated on Thursday, January 29th 2009)

We have a new tenant who signed an agreement to pay the rent fortnightly but only pays weekly (and not always on the same day. Also they pay the rent over the counter at the bank which incurs a transaction fee of $5 per transaction. Therefore we not only have the rent not paid as per the agreement we incur a fee for each transaction. Is there anything we can do to get the rent paid as per the agreement and also recover the transaction fee??

Our Experts Answer:

I recommend you talk to your tenant about the fact that they are obliged to pay their rent fortnightly on the day specified in the tenancy agreement. You can also ask your tenant to set up an automatic payment to ensure the rent is paid on time and bank fees are avoided. If you do incur bank fees the tenant is not required to reimburse you for them, so it would be best to try to arrange a way for the tenant to pay rent so that bank fees are not charged. If the tenant continues to pay the rent incorrectly, then you can give them a 10 working days’ notice telling them that they are breaching their tenancy agreement by not paying the rent as and when it’s due, and requiring them to fix the problem within 10 working days. You can download a template for the 10 working days’ notice from the Department of Building and Housing’s website (

Because this is written notification, you should keep a copy for yourself and you must allow service times for delivery of the notice to your tenant. This means that if you hand the letter to your tenant the 10 working day period takes effect immediately. However, if you drop it in your tenants letterbox you must allow an extra two working days, and if you post it to your tenant you must allow four working days. If the tenant continues to pay rent incorrectly, you may wish to pursure the matter through the Tenancy Tribunal. You can also contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262) from Monday to Friday between 8.00 am and 5.30 pm to further discuss the 10 working days’ notice and applications to the Tenancy Tribunal.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.


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