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Q: I am a landlord and my tenant is not paying rent. I know that his salary has been reduced but he seems to think this is just something I must accept. He seems to think I do not need the money.

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He says there is nothing he can do and does not seem to be trying to make a plan to either get an additional income or find a more affordable place to rent. I do not know what to do.

A: Just because someone lets property it does not mean they are wealthy and they can allow people to live in their property for free and carry the liability of bond repayments, levies and rates.

If a tenant cannot afford the rent they should make alternative plans – like downscaling or moving in with family. They should do this while they can plan for it because being evicted will give them no preparation time.

A tenant locked into a long lease should speak to the landlord about being released and landlords should consider such requests. There is no point holding someone to the terms of the lease if the property has become unaffordable, so it is best to cut the losses.

Tenants who can, over a period, settle arrears and start paying the current rent should be speaking to their landlords and making arrangements to reach agreement on the settlement of arrears. – Maria Davey, partner at Meumann White Attorneys


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