Landlord Driven Nuts by Tenant Who Underpays Rent by 1 Cent Per Week

An Australian landlord took to a Facebook group to vent his frustration with a tenant who deliberately underpays his rent by one cent every week.

The anonymous homeowner wrote on a landlord Facebook group asking his peers for advice on how to handle a cheeky tenant who reportedly underpays the rent by 1 cent every week. Apparently, the rent was set at AU$ 1,200 per week, but the person living in the house only pays AU$ 1,199.99. With 52 weeks in a year, it hardly seems like a massive loss for the tenant, but they claim to be losing their mind over the situation and are asking for advice in order to keep their sanity. Meanwhile, the tenant seems to think that they are well within their rights with the 1-cent weekly deduction.

Photo: Robert Linder/Unsplash

“The property is a three bedder that my family used to reside in but that we’ve rented out for the last four years,” the landlord wrote on Facebook. I rent direct to him and there have been no major issues in the past. We are three months into a 12-month lease.”

He has started to deliberately underpay rent by 1 cent each week. I know it is deliberate because he used to pay the full amount. I let it slide for the first few time, but my wife suggested I send him an email asking if he could correct it,” they added.

In their reply, the tenant explains that they are merely respecting the rules they had found on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website regarding the rounding of transactions. They state that sums between 1 and 9 cents can be rounded up or down, and that they are doing nothing wrong by paying 1 cent less in rent.

“This clearly states that the amount is rounded to the $1200 due and as such I consider the rent to be paid on time and in full. I request that you do not contact me about this again,” the tenant wrote in his reply to the landlord’s email, proceeding to ask the homeowner for some much-needed repairs.

The desperate landlord doesn’t plan on renewing the lease, but with 9 months to go on the current contract, he is looking for ways to either make the tenant pay the rent in full or cut ties with them altogether.

The case has been getting a lot of attention online, with most commenters claiming that the landlord is making a huge deal over a total of 52 cents, and a few arguing that they are right to take a stand, if just on principle. The landlord is correct in this case, as per Australian law, only cash transactions are subject to rounding, whereas the tenant always transfers payments electronically.

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