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Frequently asked questions

tenancy A-Z

Also check out the Tenancy A-Z for more information.

Rent frequently asked questions

On this page

  1. How does rent in advance work?
  2. Does a landlord have to give receipts for rent?
  3. How much notice do I need to give to increase the rent?
  4. What can I do about rent in arrears?
  5. Market Rent

1. How does rent in advance work?

The landlord can ask for up to a maximum of 2 weeks’ rent in advance. If a landlord asks a tenant to pay 2 weeks’ rent in advance, they are asking for rent to be paid fortnightly and at the beginning of each fortnightly period that the rent should cover. If the landlord asks the tenant to pay 1 week’s rent in advance, the tenant must pay the rent weekly and at the beginning of each weekly period that the rent should cover. A landlord cannot ask the tenant to pay any more rent before they have used up all of the rent that they have paid to the landlord, nor can they hold rent from the start of the tenancy to be used at the end of the tenancy.

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2. Does a landlord have to give receipts for rent?

The landlord must issue the tenant written receipts for rent payments. These should be given immediately for cash payments, or within 72 hours of payment in any other case. Receipts do not have to be given to the tenant where the tenant paid the landlord by automatic payment, by a non-negotiable cheque drawn on their account, into the landlord’s bank account used for that tenancy or by deduction from their benefit or pay.

The landlord must also supply the tenant with a written statement of the period to which any payment of rent relates, if the tenant requests it in writing.

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3. How much notice do I need to give to increase the rent?

For periodic tenancies the landlord must give the tenant at least 60 days’ written notice to increase the rent, in addition to a period allowed to correctly serve the notice. There is no limit to how much a landlord may increase the rent, as long as the rent is not increased excessively above market rate.

For periodic tenancies, the rent cannot be increased within 180 days of the beginning of the tenancy, nor within 180 days of the last rent increase.

Rent can only be increased for fixed-term tenancies where provision for this is written into the tenancy agreement.

For boarding house tenancies, the landlord must give the tenant at least 28 days written notice to increase the rent.

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4. What can I do about rent in arrears?

The tenant is required to pay the rent on time for the correct amount in the manner prescribed in the tenancy agreement. Failure to do so is a breach of the agreement, and the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, and the tenant can be given a notice to remedy the breach. For most tenancies the notice to remedy gives 14 days to remedy the breach.

If the tenant falls at least 21 days in arrears, or fails to comply with a notice to remedy the breach, the landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to recover the rent owing, and for termination of the tenancy if they desire it.

A 14 days’ notice to remedy the breach can be served as soon as the tenant is at least 1 day in arrears of rent.

An application for order of the Tenancy Tribunal due to rent arrears can be filed as soon as the tenant has been served with a notice to remedy. Mediation would then be scheduled to take place shortly after the expiry of the notice to remedy. Filing before the notice has expired may reduce the time to get to mediation if the tenant does not comply with the notice. If the tenant does comply, the application would have to be withdrawn and the filing fee would not be recoverable.

In boarding house tenancies, the landlord’s written notice to remedy must give the tenant at least 10 days to pay the arrears. If the tenant fails to pay, the landlord can then terminate the boarding house tenancy on a further 48 hours notice.

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5. Market rent

If the rent is excessive, the tenant may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for an order reducing the rent to a level that’s in keeping with market rents. The tenant will need to provide evidence that the rent they’re being charged is substantially higher than the rent being charged for other houses in the area that are similar to the one they’re renting.

If the tenant is in a fixed-term tenancy, they must make their application to the Tribunal within 3 months of the beginning of the fixed-term, or within 3 months of the last rent review.

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