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Three Strike Rule

10-May-2022 09:00:00

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Section (55)(1)(aa) of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA) provides landlords with an additional option for responding to rent arrears during a periodic tenancy.

This section of the RTA was introduced through the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 (RTAA) and took effect from 11 February 2021. It is in addition to existing provisions under sections 55 and 56 of the RTA, which gives landlords the ability to seek termination of a tenancy in certain situations, including unpaid rent.

This additional option was introduced due to the removal of the 90 day no cause termination for periodic tenancies. Upon consultation with the property management sector, the Government established that one reason the 90-day no-cause termination was being used was to deal with repeated rent arrears. As a result, the 90-day no-cause termination was removed and the three strike rule was introduced to address this problem.

Landlords may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to terminate a periodic tenancy if the following three steps occur:

  1. On three separate occasions within a 90-day period an amount of rent that was due has remained unpaid for at least five working
    days.
  2. On each occasion the landlord gave the tenant written notice advising them of the unpaid rent and each notice must include certain information.
  3. The landlord can then file an application to the Tenancy Tribunal within 28 days after the third notice was given to the tenant.

The landlord will have to prove that rent was due and remained unpaid for at least five working days on three separate occasions within a 90-day period and that the three notices given met the requirements above.

It is important to note that although landlords may now apply to the Tribunal for termination of a periodic tenancy for repeated rent arrears, the Tribunal may refuse to make an order if it is satisfied that the breach has been remedied, such as the arrears rent being paid and if it is unlikely that the tenant will get behind in their rent again.

In addition to the three strike rule for repeated rent arrears, the RTAA has also provided a similar provision for anti-social behaviour for periodic tenancies. The changes cover situations of antisocial behaviour that reoccur, and that are more than minor, but aren’t currently addressed by the RTA.

A landlord may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to end a periodic tenancy if:

  • on three separate occasions within a 90-day period, a tenant (or a person in the premises with the tenant’s permission) has engaged in anti-social behaviour in connection with the tenancy; and
  • a valid notice for anti-social behaviour was served on the tenant following each of those occasions.

These articles were featured in Property Management Focus Issue 4, 2022

Topics: Property Management, Residential