This week’s question comes from Kelly (paraphrased):
Katrina O’Connor from Barfoot & Thompson kindly responds below:
In shared tenancies, the best practice is to ensure that all tenants are named on the tenancy agreement so you benefit from the
protections of “jointly and severally” liable. If the partner will be residing in the property this is the best course of action.
Usually, a guarantor is a parent or someone with assets so that in the event that the tenant breaches the terms of the Tenancy Agreement and the Residential
Tenancies Act 1986, the Guarantor shall be liable for breach as if it were a party to the Tenancy Agreement. The Guarantor shall indemnify the Landlord
for any liability or loss suffered by the Landlord as a result of or arising from any breach.
** Note ** When a beneficiary receives more money than they are entitled to due to not telling Work and Income they have a spouse or partner – for example,
a woman in a de facto relationship while on the DPB, this is known as “Relationship fraud”.
From 7 July 2014, a “relationship debt sharing” law has allowed Work and Income to investigate and prosecute both the client and their partner for benefit
fraud. This applies to all debt where an investigation clearly shows that the partner has knowingly benefitted from benefit fraud.
If you have further questions feel free to contact [email protected].
Additional comment from the APIA:
As an organisation, we do not condone fraudulent practices of any kind and caution landlords strongly against knowingly becoming associated, in any way,
with fraudulent practices. Additionally, it looks as if your tenant is going to be hard pressed to meet weekly rent payments as they are. Considering
rent is the primary cash source for many landlords, common sense would suggest that she poses too much of a risk and that an alternative candidate
be considered for the tenancy.