Using rent over-payment

Alta asks:
(updated on Friday, August 14th 2020)

I have over-paid my rent and am now in “advance” to the tune of almost $5,800. When I give notice should I still keep paying the rent or would it be okay to use the amount I’ve paid in advance instead?

 

Our Experts Answer:

By law, two weeks rent is the maximum amount of rent in advance that a landlord can request. It is unlawful for a landlord to request more than this amount. If a tenant has asked to pay rent in advance of more than two weeks, this should be recorded in writing and signed by both parties.

If the tenant has made an error with over payment, they should contact the landlord immediately to discuss the over payment and request a refund. If at any point a tenant requests a refund of the excess rent in advance, even if they did request to pay the landlord more than two weeks’ worth, the landlord would need to refund this amount.

In your situation, if you do not want a refund and would like the excess to be used for future rent payments, this should be agreed in writing between you and your landlord. It is recommended that you keep evidence of both the agreement and rent payments made.

If you are intending to end your tenancy, you will need to make sure you give the correct notice for your type of tenancy and ensure that it is agreed in writing when the last rent payment will be paid to the landlord. If you are still in excess after your last rent payment, you can request a refund in writing from your landlord. If your landlord does not refund the excess, you can take the matter to the Tenancy Tribunal.

For more information on rent payments, go to tenancy.govt.nz/rent-bond-and-bills/rent/charging-rent/. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here

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