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5 February, 2024

Help: My landlord is in jail!

Leyton Blackler
Leyton Blackler
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Have you ever wondered what happens to your tenancy if your landlord finds themselves behind bars? The Residential Tenancies Act provides some clarity on this matter, though it may not be as straightforward as you think.

According to the RTA, if a landlord leaves the country for more than 21 days, they must appoint an agent to manage their tenancy. Interestingly, the legislation remains silent on the scenario where a landlord is incarcerated. This raises the intriguing possibility that, theoretically, a landlord could manage their tenancies from jail. However, in reality, this is highly unlikely.

As a landlord, you are entrusted with specific duties that you must fulfil, and as any landlord would know, these duties extend beyond mere paperwork. It is safe to say that managing a tenancy from jail is near impossible, rendering the appointment of an agent essential.

The duties that a landlord cannot perform from jail include:

    Immediate response to maintenance issues.
    Conducting property inspections.
    Handling tenant concerns promptly.
    Engaging in regular communication with tenants.

Given these limitations, appointing an agent becomes not just a legal obligation but a practical necessity. This appointed representative could be the landlord's legal counsel, a trusted friend, a family member, or a professional property manager. 

The crucial point to note is that the absence or incarceration of a landlord does not alter the tenancy terms. Both parties – the landlord and the tenant – are still bound by their respective obligations.

That is to say that even if a landlord finds themselves behind bars, tenants are still obligated to pay rent as per the agreement, and landlords must continue meeting their duties to ensure the smooth running of the tenancy.

All in all, the responsibilities of a landlord extend beyond the scope of what can be managed from behind bars and appointing a reliable agent is almost necessary in ensuring the tenancy remains stable and adheres to the RTA.

Ultimately, staying out of jail is undoubtedly the best advice. So, landlords, be mindful of your obligations, and tenants, rest assured that even if your landlord faces legal troubles, your tenancy remains unaffected – the rent must be paid, and the duties must be met.

The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. We make no representations or warranties about the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of the information, and we do not accept any liability for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of the content. It is essential to consult with a qualified legal professional for advice tailored to your specific situation.

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