Self resolution of tenancy problems

3rd September 2019 | By: Dave Smyth

If you have a tenancy problem the smart thing is to sort it out with your tenant rather than going through the stress of a tenancy tribunal hearing.

I have recently done this and both I and the tenant parted on good terms. I had a perfect tenant. She looked after the flat and got on well with the neighbours. She just had one failing in that she stopped paying the rent!

My first action was to text her advising of the missed rent. Then she was served a 14-day notice to remedy. It turned out her phone had run out of money so it was not possible to ring her and every time I visited the flat she was out but she was clearly still living there.

I lodged a tribunal application but because she had no phone and there is no local mediator the only option was to head to a tribunal hearing. Delays at the tribunal are bad and cost you money if no rent is coming in. I managed to make contact by email with her. I gave her a copy of the tribunal application and suggested she might like to give notice.

Landlords need to be very careful when doing this because the tribunal takes a dim view of threats and suggesting the tribunal will do this or that. So I said going was entirely her choice. However, I pointed out to the nice young lady it would be a good idea to not get her name into the public arena which is what would happen if we ended up in the tribunal.

Landlords have got into trouble by saying the tribunal will evict them so I said the tribunal must always follow the law. The law says the tenancy adjudicator must issue a termination order if at the time of the hearing the rent is three weeks in arrears. The judgement still needs to be equitable. I offered to forgo the requirement for 21 days notice in return for her giving immediate notice.

The deal was done and the bond refund form was signed off with the tenant receiving one weeks rent and three came to me.

We advertised the flat again and the new tenant moved in 7 days later at $10 per week more. Amazing as it may seem the young tenant asked if I would supply a verbal reference once she got her finances in order and applied for a new property. I promised I would do that because I was very happy with the way things ended.

By Glenn Morris – Nelson Property Investors Association

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