WINZ rent AP stopped

Question from Anthony updated on 13th April 2012:

I have a tenant with a really low credit score so it was written in the tenancy agreement that rent was to be paid direct by WINZ. Things were going smoothly but now the tenant has cancelled the direct payment from WINZ. What options do I have if the tenant gets behind in rent?

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

What you have described is not uncommon. A WINZ payment is not a guarantee of regular payments. It operates pretty much in the same way as an automatic bank authority. Even though a tenant’s rent may be paid directly by WINZ, it is done so at the tenant’s request not that of the landlord. The tenant is the client of WINZ. As such, the tenant is able to ask for the direct payment to be cancelled or varied. A client’s payments can also be stopped by WINZ if it is reviewing the client’s entitlements. In this latter situation the tenant may not even be aware that the rent payments have stopped as he/she is not involved directly in the payment process. Another option is to have the payments go into the tenant’s bank account and have the rent come out on the same day. That way the tenant and the landlord can track any missed rent. I note you say that the tenant may get behind in the rent. But if the rent is not in arrears then what is the fuss? You would do well to work with your tenant to get the rent paid rather than worry that it might not be paid on time. If the rent does fall into arrears you have the standard process available to you – a 14 day Notice to Remedy and a Tenancy Tribunal application if necessary. However, communicating with your tenant at an early stage is a far better option.

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