Changes for landlords chasing debt

Court processes for landlords chasing debts should be streamlined from next week.

Thursday, April 10th 2014, 12:00AM

by The Landlord

The Courts and Criminal Matters BIll amends 20 statutes to enhance courts’ powers and processes for the collection fines and debts. It is being called the biggest change to civil enforcement since the District Courts Act in 1947.

From April 14, there will be changes to the attachment order and eviction processes used by landlords with problem tenants.

Parties will be able to agree at a hearing or mediation that a debt can be enforced by attachment order, so that payments are deducted directly from a person’s income.

The tenant's employer or benefit details, contact information and date of birth will have to be supplied, as well as the landlord's contact details and bank account and details of the amount to be paid and frequency of the payment.

An attachment order can only be used for recovery of debt where the debt and an agreed repayment plan are finalised – it cannot be used where a tenant is still being charged rent.

A renamed eviction form, “application for eviction warrant” will need to be used for all eviction applications.

Fees for the eviction process are also changing: There will be a $200 filing fee, which can be recovered from the tenant.  The application will still be filed with the Collections unit and a bailiff will still carry out the eviction.

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