Paying Rent 

 


How much rent in advance is a landlord allowed to ask for at the beginning of a tenancy?

Your landlord may ask for up to two weeks’ rent in advance. This counts as the first rent payment. They can’t ask for more rent until all of that rent has been used up.

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How often can my landlord increase the rent?

Landlords are allowed to increase the rent on a property as often as once every 180 days (roughly every 6 months).

Some landlords have an annual rent review, in which case they must include details of the annual rent review in the tenancy agreement or inform the tenant in writing before the tenancy starts. With an annual rent review, the new rate will take effect on a set date each year (as specified in the tenancy agreement) or from the next rent payment after that date.

If you have a fixed-term tenancy your landlord cannot increase the rent except as allowed by the tenancy agreement.

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How much notice should I get about my rent increase?

Your landlord must give you written warning of a rent increase 60 days before it will take place.

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What can I do if I think the landlord is charging too much rent?

If you think you’re being overcharged, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have your rent reviewed. If the tribunal finds that your rent is substantially higher than the rents of similar properties in similar areas, it can order the landlord to drop your rent to market prices. You can check out the Tenancy Services website how much the market value of your property should be.

More about this is on the Tenancy Services website.

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What happens if I can’t pay my rent?

If you are going to have problems with paying your rent on time it is worth talking to your landlord about it. They may agree to a repayment plan that you can afford, so that you can stay in your home. If you are able to agree to a repayment plan your landlord may want to formalise the agreement through FastTrack Resolution.  

Non-payment of rent would mean that you are in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act and your tenancy agreement. As soon as your rent is just one day overdue, the landlord can give you a 14-day notice to remedy. This notice gives you 14 days to remedy the situation (eg by paying the overdue amount). 

If you are more than 21 days behind in rent, or haven’t sorted anything out after getting the 14-day notice to remedy, the landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to order you to pay the overdue rent. Your landlord could also apply for a termination order, ending the tenancy and forcing you to vacate the property.

If you have regular problems paying your rent, look at getting some help with budgeting and finding out whether you are eligible for an accommodation supplement or other financial assistance. If it is a one-off problem you should talk to your landlord as soon as possible.

More information for tenants and landlords about overdue rent and 14-day notices to remedy is on the Tenancy Services website.

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Does my landlord have to give receipts for my rent payments?

If you paid your rent in cash, then yes, they do need to give you a receipt.

The landlord does not have to give you receipts for rent payments that are made: 

  • by automatic bank payment, 
  • by a non-negotiable personal cheque, 
  • directly into the landlord’s bank account used for tenancy, or 
  • by deduction from your pay or 
  • benefit paid directly into the landlord’s account.

The landlord must give you a written statement of rent payments if you ask for this in writing. The landlord must keep proper business records showing all rent and bond payments.

The Tenancy Services website has more information about receipts and record keeping.

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Am I entitled to a rent reduction while my landlord is getting building work done on the rental property? 

If your landlord is getting work done to your rental home so that you can’t have full use of it during that period of time, you can discuss with the landlord the possibility of a temporary rent reduction. This isn’t something that you are automatically entitled to though – you will need to get your landlord to agree to it. 

You can read our answers to related questions about the landlord’s obligations to the tenant when getting building work done on the rental property, on our Tenant and landlord issues page.

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The place I’m renting needs lots of repairs. My landlord says if they get repairs done they’ll put my rent up to cover the costs. Can they do this?

Your landlord is obliged to keep the rental property in a reasonable state of repair, which means ensuring that any necessary repairs are completed. 

Your landlord can only increase your rent up to twice per year and must give minimum notice.

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My friend and I have joint tenancy but my friend is having money problems. Can the landlord make me liable for the full amount of the rent? 

Yes they can. If your name is on the tenancy agreement the landlord can pursue you for any overdue rent, including the other tenant’s share of the rent. If this happens you have options for getting reimbursement from your friend.  

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My tenancy agreement says that I will be charged a late fee if I don’t pay my rent on time – is this legal?

As a tenant you are responsible for paying your rent on time. However landlords are not entitled to charge a late fee if your rent is late. If a clause in your agreement says you will be charged interest or late fees for late payment this would not be enforceable in the Tenancy Tribunal. 

Read about the process your landlord must follow to deal with late rent payment.