When your tenant moves in, you can ask for one or two weeks’ rent in advance (but not more than two weeks’ rent). This is the rent for the first week or two weeks, depending on whether the tenant is going to pay you weekly (one week in advance) or fortnightly (two weeks in advance).
Once the advance rent runs out, more rent is due. You cannot ask for the next rent payment until all the paid rent has been used up.
Here’s an example:
A tenancy agreement is signed to begin on 1 February. The tenant pays two weeks’ rent as bond and two weeks’ rent in advance. The two weeks’ rent in advance pays for the period 1 to 14 February. The tenant does not have to pay rent again until 15 February, when a further two weeks’ rent in advance is paid for the period 15 to 28 February.
Ways to pay rent
It is up to the tenant and the landlord to agree how rent will be paid and write this into the tenancy agreement. Rent may be paid by cash or cheque, or by automatic payment.
Doing the paperwork
However the rent is paid, a landlord must keep records that allow the tenant and, if required, a mediator or the Tenancy Tribunal, to see the rent due and the rent paid for any particular period. The law says you must keep rent records throughout the tenancy.
If your tenant pays you in cash or cheque, you must give them receipts. You must also give them a written statement saying what period the rent paid relates to, if they ask you in writing.
If rent is paid by non-negotiable personal cheque or by automatic payment then a receipt is not required because the tenant’s bank records would show the rent was paid. (It is still a good idea to receipt all payments.)
Make sure you keep all receipts and bank statements showing rent payments in a safe place.
For more information, download our information sheet Rental payments and records, which explains rent receipts and statements.
You can also print this rent summary form to track the payment of rent during a tenancy. Or you can download our rent summary spreadsheet to calculate the total amount of rent paid during a tenancy and any arrears due.
Increasing the rent
You must give a tenant 60 days’ written notice of any rent increase, and you cannot increase the rent more than once 180 days. In the case of a boarding house tenancy, a landlord must give the tenant 28 days’ written notice to increase the rent.
Rent can only be increased in a fixed-term tenancy if it is stated in the tenancy agreement.
When there has been a reduction in rent, a return to the normal rent is not considered a rent increase.
As soon as your tenant gets behind with the rent, talk to them and see if you can sort something out together. You can call the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for advice about how to sort things out.
If there is still a problem, you can give your tenant a 14 days’ notice to fix the problem. If the problem can’t be fixed, you may need to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal.
Read these information sheets to find out more: