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Tips to help prevent problems with rent payments

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  1. At the start of a tenancy
  2. During a tenancy
  3. At the end of a tenancy

Throughout a tenancy both parties want to maintain a rent that reflects fair market rent for the property.

As a tenant you have agreed to pay weekly or fortnightly rent on time. As a landlord you have agreed to rent a property to a tenant at an agreed amount per week or fortnight.  More information about rent »

At the start of a tenancy

For both landlords and tenants:

  • Talk about your expectations – have a clear understanding of the agreement you are entering.

Landlords:

  • Explain to the tenant how rent in advance works.
    (i.e. you’re paying for the week or fortnight ahead. Use the analogy of a parking meter where you pay first and then park for a set period of time, instead of the other way around. Then you pay again when that money is used up).
  • Encourage tenants to pay rent automatically by direct debit, automatic payment or deduction from their wages or benefit (i.e. redirection from Work and Income NZ). These are hassle-free methods of payment.
  • Outline expectations at the start of the tenancy as to how issues are going to be dealt with, so there are no surprises.
    (i.e. talk about what you want the tenant to do if they have difficulty in making a rent payment, or if a payment is missed. Also, explain what you would do if rent was to fall behind).
  • Highlight to the tenant the importance of communication, and keeping you in the loop of what’s happening regarding their rent payments.
  • Keep your rental records current (i.e. as the tenancy progresses). Do not try and construct a rent record at the end of the tenancy.
  • Keep rent records independent of other records. Try to keep other tenancy financial information separate also (i.e. payment of damages, etc).

Tenants:

  • Consider paying the rent automatically, by direct debit, automatic payment, deduction from wages or your benefit.
  • If you are the tenant named on the tenancy agreement and you have flatmates or boarders (this excludes boarding house tenants) ensure they are clear about when to pay you. Record any agreement you have with flatmates for a clear understanding. 

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During a tenancy

Both landlords and tenants

  • Keep in contact with one another.
  • Check your accounts regularly to make sure payments have been made or received.
  • Keep a file for all rent records, receipts and letters about rent.
  • Get the latest market rent statistics by subscribing to the Department’s market rent guide.

Landlords:

  • Check your accounts weekly/fortnightly to make sure payments are received
  • Contact the tenant immediately if a payment is missed, or not made in full.
  • Keep your rent records up to date.
  • Send regular rent summaries to your tenant.
  • If the tenant is in breach, act professionally. Do not harass or threaten the tenant.

Tenants:

  • Pay your rent on time.
  • Let the landlord know if you are having difficulty in making a payment to them.
  • Even if you’re unhappy about something to do with the property, you still have to pay your rent on time.
  • Check your accounts weekly/fortnightly to make sure payments have been made
  • Budget for rent payments, especially during long holiday periods (i.e. Christmas), so that you can meet your rent obligations during these times.
  • It’s important to talk to your landlord. Keep them in the loop and let them know what is happening.
  • Be upfront and honest, and hopefully they’ll work with you in making an arrangement to pay off the arrears if you fall behind with rent.
  • Keep all rent records and receipts in a safe place, they are your rent record and proof that rent has been paid.

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At the end of a tenancy

Landlords:

  • Send the tenant a letter to let them know how much rent is payable up until the termination date.
  • Discuss any final payment arrangements with the tenant, to ensure rent is paid up to the termination date before they leave the property.
  • Let the tenant know if rent is up to date so they can get their bond back.

Tenants:

  • Make sure rent is paid up to the termination date before leaving the tenancy to help get your bond back.

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