One way to enforce the repayment of a debt is to arrange an attachment order. An attachment order takes money from the benefit, wages or salary of the person who owes the money and pays it directly to you.

You can apply for an attachment order whether the other person agrees or not

You can apply for an attachment order:

  • if both people involved agree that the debt will be paid through an attachment order (this is called an agreed attachment order)
  • if you don’t agree with the other person, but you want to recover the money from them.

An attachment order only applies to a final debt. It can’t be added on top of current rent and can’t be enforced as an order to end a tenancy. Call Tenancy Services for more information.

An attachment order can’t be made if the person who owes the money is self-employed, or if a company or other organisation owes the money. In those situations, you’ll need to use a different type of enforcement order.

Decisions the Tribunal can make describes the types of enforcement orders available.

Applying for an agreed attachment order

Landlords and tenants can ask for an attachment order to be granted in mediation or at a Tenancy Tribunal hearing, as part of dealing with other issues in the dispute.

The landlord and tenant both need to participate in mediation or attend the hearing, and agree to the debt being repaid as an agreed attachment order. Both people involved need to agree on the terms of the attachment order, such as how often repayments will be made and how much will be deducted each time.

Asking for an agreed attachment order is part of making an application to the Tenancy Tribunal. There’s no extra application form to complete, and you don’t have to go to another hearing to get the attachment order.

The landlord and tenant need to be able to give the mediator or adjudicator the following details:

  • contact information and date of birth of the person who owes the money
  • contact details of the employer of the person who owes the money, or the benefit number if the person who owes the money is unemployed, the bank account details of the person the money’s owed to.

To start the deductions, file the Tenancy Tribunal order or sealed mediator’s order (containing the agreed attachment order) with Collections – Ministry of Justice. You’ll need to pay a $30 filing fee.

Attachment orders on the Ministry of Justice website (external link) has more about starting or changing the deductions.

Applying for an attachment order if you don’t agree with the other person

You can apply for an attachment order without agreeing with the other person about repayment. The application process is different from an agreed attachment order. The first step is to organise a financial assessment to assess the debtor’s ability to pay the money they owe.

Financial assessments on the Ministry of Justice website (external link) tells you how to apply for an assessment.