Tenant refuses to pay, what to do?!

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by DorothytheDinosaur, 14th Apr, 2020.

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  1. DorothytheDinosaur

    DorothytheDinosaur Member

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    Hi everyone,

    We have a property where the tenants say they want a rent freeze for 6 months.
    After emailing my property manager saying "we can't pay", they have stopped answering the manager's calls/attempts to contact. They just gave the manager a snapshot of their bank account.

    Unfortunately they are from the UK and are here on a bridging visa and thus not able to get Centrelink.

    I am thinking they should still apply for the $2k rental relief.

    But regardless, it appears to me that they are counting on the no eviction rule to stay in our property for the next 6 months.

    What should we do?

    I feel there is no easy way of verifying their hardship, and them shutting off the manager is a very bad sign.
     
  2. Tom Rivera

    Tom Rivera Property Manager Business Member

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    This is an extremely difficult situation, it seems to me like they intend on zipping back to the UK before they can be held to account for the months of rent that they will owe you- what theories has your Property Manager got on the matter?
     
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  3. DorothytheDinosaur

    DorothytheDinosaur Member

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    Thanks Tom, that is my theory- is they wont ever pay anything back. My PM seems quite clueless to be very honest, asking us what to do next.

    They stopped paying on 23 March, and because it was a dual living situation, the downstairs people have decided they're moving out this Friday because they want to do the responsible thing and pay us rent but don't want to live with the upstairs people who are not paying rent.
     
  4. Rugrat

    Rugrat Well-Known Member

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    Not sure what state you are in? This matters, because different states are at different stages with current hardship regulations.

    Generally though, it's probably in your best interests to proceed with regular eviction processes if they are being completely uncommunicative. Get the matter before a tribunal at least, so you can figure out how to progress from here.

    I'd also be looking at getting a new PM if they honestly cann't offer you any advice. Because thats their job.
     
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  5. Ted Varrick

    Ted Varrick Well-Known Member

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    This doesnt make a lot of sense. Care to elaborate?
     
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  6. Codie

    Codie Well-Known Member

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    If property is in the same state/city, can you give notice to move back into the property yourself?
     
  7. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Illegal dual occupancy situation? Two tenancies in a Queenslander?
     
  8. Ted Varrick

    Ted Varrick Well-Known Member

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    Given the current uncertain situation, it could be two drawers in a wardrobe. Who could tell?
     
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  9. jaydee

    jaydee Well-Known Member

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    The PMs sound useless (as is often the case).

    If it were me I would issue a "Notice of Proposed Entry to Premises" or whatever the equivalent is in your state. The reason could be any multiple of reasons but I would factor mine on the basis that they were not contactable and you were concerned for their wellbeing ............:rolleyes:

    After the required 72 hr (or whatever) period I would enter the property with my own key. If tenants are home you will have a chance to discuss the issue with them. At that point you will know exactly where you stand and equally they will also know you mean business.

    The next step would depend on their actions, remembering that you can make their life in Australia (on a visa) just as difficult as they are making yours.

    Hopefully, they will see reason, otherwise let the games begin ............
     
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  10. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

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    This doesn't seem like a hard question to answer. Unless your tenancy is in Tasmania, surely the answer is "start the process to evict them".

    I don't think any other state has anything in place yet.
     
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  11. DorothytheDinosaur

    DorothytheDinosaur Member

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    We are in Brisbane and the property is in Brisbane. The tenants are/were friends but I


    HI Jaydee, what do you mean by "remembering that you can make their life in Australia (on a visa) just as difficult as they are making yours."? Thank you.
     
  12. Antoni0

    Antoni0 Well-Known Member

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    There must be some type of support they can get from the British embassy, maybe ask them to seek help.
     
  13. NedKelly

    NedKelly Well-Known Member

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    If they are on a bridging visa it is because they are waiting for another visa to be processed. That could take years as I know they have stopped processing all visa applications at the moment. The proposed Queensland legislation will enable a tenant to extend their lease by a further 6 months even though they have paid no rent. I think you need to start the eviction process. Time they went back to the UK.
     
  14. DorothytheDinosaur

    DorothytheDinosaur Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Thank you all for your valued input. Several of you have indicated to start the eviction process. My understanding is next Wednesday they decide to either pass it or not?

    If we issue form 12 now, the downstairs people (they're still paying, whereas upstairs people are not paying), will leave, and only the upstairs people will see us at court. This means the downside of eviction is we lose the income from downstairs by telling them to leave. All 4 names are on one lease. Currently the downstairs people are willing to keep paying their bit to us, provided we put in writing that they don't become liable for the full rent, but just their downstairs portion. However they've also said "can't guarantee how long I can keep paying my part either because we are both working just one to two days a week."

    What are the chances of the eviction process going well?
     
  15. Terry_w

    Terry_w Lawyer, Tax Adviser and Mortgage broker in Sydney Business Plus Member

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    joint and severally liable?
     
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  16. NedKelly

    NedKelly Well-Known Member

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    Exactly! All 4 names are on one lease. Even if the downstairs people move out they are still liable even if they don't live there anymore.
     
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  17. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    If four names on one lease, and two leave, the remaining two are meant to pay the full rent.
     
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  18. NedKelly

    NedKelly Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but they would still have to get their names removed from the lease otherwise they would still be liable. Two people can't just move out and leave the problem with the remaining occupants. There is also the bond money lodged with the RTA that would need to be accounted for.
     
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  19. Perp

    Perp Well-Known Member

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    That's not how it works. As has been said, all four of the names on the lease are jointly and severably liable, ie you can proceed against all four of them. There's not really any such thing as 'upstairs paying' and 'downstairs not paying' except in their own minds - it's not two agreements.
    No, the rent's not severable, ie able to be severed into portions.
    Absolutely not. They've already signed an agreement making them liable for full rent. Why would you release them from that obligation?

    Whatever you do, don't indulge them with any talk of 'their portion' and 'our portion'; you have one agreement for which all four of them are liable for the entire amount. You don't care how they divide it up, but they're all responsible for paying you the full amount - that's purely a matter for the four of them. If you also talk to them of 'their portion' and 'your portion' etc., they may raise it as an argument at QCAT that you treated them as two separate agreements. I'm not sure, but that may go badly for you.

    Terminate the agreement for non-payment, and move on. Yes, you may be empty for a while, or have to drop the rent to get a new tenant, but sounds like you're not going to get anything like full rent under the current scenario, anyway, and it'll be an ongoing stressor.
     
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  20. DorothytheDinosaur

    DorothytheDinosaur Member

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    :( Yes, but the situation now is the nonpaying upstairs people basically are determined to stay at our property and not pay a single dollar.

    Hence why we are considering eviction, but the QLD proposed rules are currently not in our favour. ...

    It seems like most of you are suggesting to go ahead and evict them all? But I know the upstairs people will keep staying at our property but refuse to pay. How do you think that will go?