Home    What can I do if my tenant is behind in their rent payments?

If your tenant’s rent is late by only a few days, it is a good idea to send them a reminder as they may have just forgotten to make payment. However, if your tenant is more than a few days late, you may wish to take further action.

The process for dealing with rent arrears differs by State. We have compiled a high level overview of the process across states. Please consult the relevant government body for more information.

The acronym ORNA can help you through the steps required to deal with your tenant and protect yourself against lost rental income. 

Overdue – if your tenant is a few days late on rent it is a good idea to send them a reminder as they might have just forgotten payment. However after a set period (different for each state) the unpaid rent is considered to be in arrears and legal options should be considered.

Resolution – the first step should always be to try resolve the problem directly with the tenant, with the intention of coming to an agreement in which in the short term the rent is repaid.

Notification – If the landlord and tenant are unable to come to an agreement (or after the rent becomes legally arrears), it is essential to issue the tenant with a legal notification outlining the details of the unpaid rent. These forms can be found on the following pages

Apply – If rent remains unpaid following the notification, the landlord should consider their legal options. Depending on your state you may issue a Notice to Evict and/or file an application to the local courts or Tribunal.

If your tenant does agree to repay the rent and remain in the property it can be helpful to consider their financial position. It can often be more beneficial to create a legally binding Repayment Plan, detailing the repayment amount and frequency ontop of normal rent.Often tenants may not be in the financial position to immediately repay all owing rent. 

 

NSW

Office of Fair Trading

13 32 20

Overdue– rent is considered to be arrears if payment is overdue by 14 days

Resolution – The first stage should be to try reach a solution with the tenant

Notification – you can issue the tenant a termination notice giving 14 days notice to vacate the property. (A repayment plan may be agreed upon between the landlord and tenant, dictating repayment amount and frequency on top of the normal rent payments)

Apply – If the tenant does not agree to repayment or a repayment plan, the landlord can apply to the NCAT for a termination order to remove the tenant, either: 

  1. At the same time they issue a termination notice – (saves time, however the application fee is not refundable if the tenant vacates on their own or repays the rent)
  2. Within 30 days of serving the termination notice – (usually after the tenant fails to move out or repay the rent by the specified termination date)

Use this formto support the NCAT application 

  • If NCAT approves the termination order the tenant is legally required to vacate the property, and NSW police can assist with enforcing the order

Note that there is a general guarantee that the tenancy will continue if the tenant catches up with the rent or they comply with the repayment plan. This guarantee applies at any point before the Sheriff enforces the warrant and removal occurs, ie it can apply even after the tribunal has given a termination order. An exception to this guarantee is where the tenant has a history of late payment, and a special application to the Tribunal is needed. 

 

VIC

Consumer Affairs Victoria 

1300 558 181

Overdue– rent is considered to be arrears if payment is overdue by 14 days

Resolution – The first stage should be to try reach a solution with the tenant

Notification – Where there is no resolution, the landlord can issue tenant with a notice to vacate (form found here) giving 14 days notice to vacate the property. Notice must be given by hand, registered post or electronic communication (only where tenant has given content to receive notices this way). 

  • The tenant has three choices here. They can either comply with the notice to vacate, ignore the notice or challenge the notice by taking the matter to VCAT

Apply – If the tenant has not vacated by the due date, landlords can apply for an Order of Possession (eviction) at VCAT (Use this formto support claim). When approved landlords may use a Warrant for Possession formto receive assistance from VIC Police in removing the tenant. 

 

QLD

Residential Tenancy Authority 

1300 366 311

Overdue– rent is considered to be arrears if payment is overdue by 7 days

Resolution – The first stage should be to try reach a solution with the tenant

Notification – Where there is no resolution, the landlord can issue a Notice to Remedy Breach (Form 11) on the 8thday of non-payment. This gives the tenant 7 days to pay the amount overdue

Apply – If the rent is still not paid by the specified date, the landlord has two options. 

  1. If the landlord wishes to continue the tenancy: they may fill out a Dispute Resolution Request (Form 16) and a RTA conciliator will try to help negotiate an agreement.
  2. If the Landlord wishes to end the tenancy: they can issue a Notice to Leave (Form 12) with 7 days notice for the tenant to vacate 
  3. At this point the tenant may pay the rent due and it is then up to the landlord’s discretion if they will allow the tenant to stay in the property
  4. If the tenant has not paid and remains in the property after these 7 days, landlords can apply for a Termination Order and Warrant of Possession at QCAT within 14 days of the handover date listed in Form 12. Use this formto support the application
  5. The police can enforce the Warrant of Possession issued by the tribunal

 

WA

Department of Commerce

1300 304 054

Overdue– rent is considered to be arrears if payment is overdue by 14 days

Resolution – The first stage should be to try reach a solution with the tenant

Notification – Where there is no resolution, the landlord has 2 options

  1. If the landlord wants the tenancy to continue: they can issue a Breach Notice for Non-Payment of Rent (Form 21) which gives the tenant 14 days to make payment. If rent remains unpaid, landlords can issue a Notice of Termination for Non-Payment of Rent (Form 1A) which ends the tenancy agreement and requires the tenant to vacate within 7 days
  2. If the Landlord wants the tenancy to end: they can issue a Notice of Termination for Non-Payment of Rent (Form 1B), providing the tenant with 7 days for repayment before the landlord can apply to the Magistrates Court for an order to terminate the agreement 

Apply – If the tenant has not vacated by the due date, landlords can apply for an eviction hearing in the Magistrates court. Use this formto support the application

 

SA

Consumer and Business Services

13 18 82

Overdue– rent is considered to be arrears if payment is overdue by 14 days

Resolution – The first stage should be to try reach a solution with the tenant

Notification – Where there is no resolution, the landlord can issue a Notice to Tenant To Remedy Breach of Agreement (Form),giving the tenant 7 days to repay the stated unpaid rent.

  • If the tenant does not remedy the breach by the set date (through repayment or an agreed upon repayment plan) the above Notice acts to terminate the agreement

Apply –  If the tenant has not paid and remains in the property after the date set out in Step 2 the landlord can lodge a Statutory Declaration to SACAT for possession of the property (Information). Following approval law enforcement can assist in forcing the tenant to vacate.

 

ACT

Access Canberra

13 22 81

Overdue– rent is considered to be arrears if payment is overdue by 7 days

Resolution – The first stage should be to try reach a solution with the tenant, the landlord can issue a Notice to Remedy (NTR) giving the tenant 7 days to resolve the problem and keep the tenancy

Notification – Where there is no resolution, the landlord can issue a Notice to Vacate (NTV) giving 14 days to vacate the property. 

Apply – If the landlord believes the tenant may not leave the property voluntarily the landlord can apply for a Termination and Possession Order (TPO) from ACAT, at any point following the NTV.

  • If the tenant has not paid and remains in the property ACT Police can execute the TPO warrant for eviction. 

If the landlord has previously issued 2 NTR to the tenant, they may issue a NTV 7 days following unpaid rent (without a NTR). 

 

TAS

Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading

1300 654 499

Overdue– rent is considered to be arrears if payment is overdue by 14 days

Resolution – The first stage should be to try reach a solution with the tenant

Notification – at this point the landlord can issue a Notice to Vacate (Form), providing 7 days for repayment to keep the tenancy

Apply – If the tenant has not paid and remains in the property the landlord can apply for an Order to Vacate with the Magistrates Court of CBOS. If approved the Bailiff can assist in changing the locks of the property.

If the Landlord has issued 2 prior Notice to Vacate forms to the Tenant in the past, they may terminate the lease regardless of repayment. 

 

NT

Consumer Affairs

1800 019 319

Overdue– rent is considered to be arrears if payment is overdue by 14 days

Resolution – The first stage should be to try reach a solution with the tenant

Notification – At this point the landlord can issue a Notice to Remedy (Form), providing at least 8 day for the tenant to repay what is owing 

Apply – If the problem is not remedied the landlord can apply to NTCAT for an Order of Termination of the tenancy and possession of property 

  • If the tenant has not paid and remains in the property Law Enforcement can enforce the order.