Tenant on home detention does not pay rent

I have recently had two different tenancies where the tenant was on home detention and got into rent arrears.

First one had been there a for a number of months. When he appeared in court he missed part of a weeks rent. Thinking this was the start of slide downhill I issued a 10 day letter but he managed to limp along paying every week but never fully catching up. Then he missed again so I lodged the tribunal application. His probation officer rang trying to soft talk me into doing nothing. But he will need to go to jail the PO says.

Well isnt that a shame I say. Just get me the rent money I say and he can stay for as long as he likes. No rent money so the tenancy ended as I wished and the not particularly large debt was cleared with the bond. If I had left the issue no doubt the rent arrears would have continued to climb. The risk in this case was if he got jail the chances of being paid any debt was nil.

Then another one pops up the very next week. This one had been newspaper front page news. Paua poachers. Mr Tenant gets jail and Mrs Tenant get HD. She has two young children to look after. The probation officer calls again to keep me fully informed. Not that this means we get any rent. Mr tenant’s benefit was stopped when jail started and Mrs tenant is no eligible for a benefit because she is here on an expired visitors permit.

These Paua poachers had been good tenants for the last three years.

So the claim is she is heading off to WINZ to try and get some money to live on. The nice probation officer says Mrs tenant is very worried about not paying the rent. Can I please no worry about the rent the PO says.

Well guess what I say.

Yes that is right. I said I am not operating a branch of the Department of Corrections. If the Government wants me to provide accommodation for its offenders it needs to pay me.

So ho hum here we go again off to the tribunal to try and solve the issue.

Perhaps we could have some comments from PTers on what should be done and who should suffer.

Who is the bad person in the story?

  1. Are the children to blame. Should they have a house to live in and food to eat.
  2. One of them did take part in the Paua gathering and processing.
  3. Should society through WINZ pay Mrs tenant some money to permit her to eat, and keep a roof over her head.
  4. Should the courts just put Mrs tenant onto the first plane back to any country the plane is headed to and send her kids who were born here with her.
  5. Should the landlord continue to bear the cost of housing the tenants for the next 9 months until Mr Tenant gets out of jail and returns to his benefit.
  6. Should the court ask landlords permission before they hand down HD sentences.
  7. Should we charge more for those tenants on HD to reflect the higher wear and tear on the property and reflect the lower cost to society by not needing to build more jails.

What are your thoughts?