Christmas and holiday season is always going to be a tough time for some renters. Buying Christmas presents and taking their family away on holiday, money will be tight and something has to give. Most tenants would have budgeted for this time and will still be able to pay their rent, but there will always be some that may fall behind.
What can you do if this happens to you? Regardless of your tenant’s personal problems, you still have a right to get your rent on time. There are a few things to consider:
Is this a one-off occurrence?
If your tenants are usually great at paying but slipped up this once, it may be worth it to give them the benefit of the doubt. If they have come to you and explained the situation (rather than you finding out when the money doesn’t appear in your account) you may be able to work something out with them and agree on a payment plan or deadline of when they will get the money to you.
Does this happen on a regular basis?
If this happens all the time without good reasons you may want to consider taking further action. If the tenant owes at least 14 days rent you can give them a 14-day Notice to Vacate. This is the last resort after you have tried everything else. It is always best to call your tenant first and see if you can come to an agreement and if not, explain to them that further action will be taken.
According to Consumer Affairs Victoria the Notice to Vacate must:
- be sent to the tenant at the premises by registered post or hand delivered (‘hand delivered’ means giving it personally to the tenant or leaving it with a person apparently over the age of 16 and apparently residing or employed at the tenant’s usual or last known home or business address).
- be addressed to the tenant.
- give a specific reason or state that no reason is given in the case of a 120-day notice.
- be signed by the landlord (or their agent).
- allow the correct amount of time to give the notice.
- give the date for the tenant to leave.
How would you deal with a tenant that didn’t pay rent over Christmas? Would you give them the benefit of the doubt?