Tenants / rent records
The Residential Tenancies Act 1994 sets out quite clearly what records lessors and agents should keep. The records must clearly show the amount of rent paid, date paid and the rent period the rent was paid for. Some self-managing lessors do not keep records in accordance with the legislation.
Where rent is paid in person by the tenant, a receipt must be issued immediately. Where rent is paid directly into a bank account or electronically in accordance with the tenancy agreement, the rent is deemed to be paid when the transaction was made not when it is received by the lessor or agent. The tribunal deals with many matters where payments appear to have gone astray and are not picked up until months later. It is my suggestion that where receipts are not forwarded to the tenants that a tenant's ledger is sent to the tenant regularly, and certainly one should be sent with any Notice to Remedy.
Non-payment of rent
This is the cause for over 80 per cent of the tribunal's work. This year the tribunal has issued more than 50 warrants of possession each week. This is a major increase and is cause for concern. To alleviate this problem the parties should look at direct debit arrangements and other automatic payment arrangements that may be available.
Another concern is the number of tenants who appear before the tribunal with rent arrears and state that they were deliberately withholding rent because of the lessor's or agent's conduct. This is not the correct procedure. The tribunal will not hear the tenant's complaint until the rent is paid up. The legislation provides a quick avenue to have disputes heard, and tenants must avail themselves of these procedures or face eviction.
Bill Randall ? Update ? Residential Tenancies Authority