The Residential Tenancy Act 1997 is very specific as to the rights and responsibilities of landlords/agents and tenants when it comes to the payment of rent for a tenancy.
A payment period is how often you have to pay rent according to the lease.
A payment period cannot exceed four weeks (or two weeks for boarding premises).
Generally a payment period for rent is either one or two weeks. Whatever payment period you have accepted as a term of your lease you must remain in advance for this period. A payment period cannot be changed unless all parties to the agreement accept any change.
Note that in Tasmania, it is illegal for a landlord to charge rent per calendar month.
Rent is Paid in Advance
Rent is required to be paid in advance during the term of the lease.
For example: A tenant moves in on July 1st and will pay rent every fortnight. When rent is paid on July 1st, that will cover the rental period of July 1st to July 14th.
In other words, rent is paid for time the property WILL BE occupied, not the time the property HAS BEEN occupied.
Rent must always be paid when it falls due. This is a condition of all lease agreements. Rent Arrears occurs when a tenant fails to pay rent for a period they are in the property.
– The next payment period is for April 1st to April 14th and should be paid on April 1st.
– When the rent is not paid until April 5th, rent is in arrears from April 1st until April 4th
– Once paid the rent is no longer in arrears – or – it is in advance until April 14.
– NOTE: Rent is due again on regular payment date, not in a fortnight from the last payment.
Whenever a tenant pays the rent late, they are breaching the rent in advance clause in their lease.
Notice to Vacate (Eviction Notice)
Should a tenant get behind in rental payments the landlord/agent may issue a Notice to Vacate (eviction notice) for rent arrears. This notice must specify the amount of arrears owing at the time the notice is provided.
A Notice to Vacate for rent arrears must give at least fourteen (14) days notice to solve the problem.
This allows the tenant to:
– pay the arrears owing, thus remedying the problem and no further action can be taken) OR
– vacate the property (note that any rent arrears may be taken from the bond).
It is important to note that during any twelve month period, if a tenant receives three Notices to Vacate specifically for rent arrears, the landlord/agent is entitled to rely on the third notice to have the tenant vacate the property even if they pay the arrears owing. (very simply, this is a three strikes rule).
If an landlord/agent issues the third and final Notice to Vacate and the tenant does not vacate the property the landlord may apply to the Magistrates Court for an Order for Vacant Possession. This may also occur on any other Notice to Vacate for arrears if the arrears are not paid.
If you fall behind…
If you do get behind in the rent we recommend the following:
- Be active in finding a solution and DO NOT ignore the problem.
- Contact the landlord/agent to discuss the issue as soon as possible.
- If possible pay the arrears or enter into a payment plan to repay the arrears.
- Contact the Tenants’ Union if you have any queries about the legality of any action taken against you.
- Housing Connect (Phone: 1800 800 588) may be able to provide assistance in paying rent arrears and bonds (conditions apply)
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not legal advice. It is intended as a guide only. It applies only to legislation current in Tasmania as at 1 August 2015. For information regarding a specific tenancy problem please phone the Tenants’ Union on 1300 652 641 or (03) 6223 2641. The Tenants’ Union of Tasmania Inc. accepts no responsibility for actions based on this information, nor for actions based on electronic translations of this.