If a tenant or landlord doesn’t do what they’ve been ordered to do by the Tenancy Tribunal, you can get the order enforced through Collections – Ministry of Justice.

Collections – Ministry of Justice is responsible for enforcing civil debts, including orders from the Tenancy Tribunal.

Before asking for an order to be enforced, you may choose to talk to the other person first to try to fix the problem. If you can’t fix the problem yourselves, you can enforce the order through the court system.

Only a named party on the order, either the judgment creditor or in some cases the judgment debtor can apply for enforcement. A lawyer can also apply on behalf of the parties. All Civil Enforcement applications can be sent to the following address, or filed at any District Court of New Zealand.

Ministry of Justice
Central Processing Unit

Any fees you pay for this enforcement can be recovered from the person owing the money. This means the fees can be added to the amount they owe.

You need to know the current address of the person who owes the money. This can be difficult if they’ve moved. If you don’t know the address, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) may be able to help you find one.

Finding a new address has more information on how this process works.

The main types of enforcement orders are:

Orders that help you regain possession of a property

If you have a possession order and the tenant has not vacated the property, you must get an eviction warrant to get possession back. If you’re not sure whether the tenant has vacated the property or not, you should enforce your order through Collections – Ministry of Justice.

Once you file a possession order with Collections – Ministry of Justice for enforcement, it becomes known as an eviction warrant. This warrant enables a court bailiff to return possession of the property to the person named in the order.

Eviction warrants(external link) on the Ministry of Justice website tells you how to apply for a warrant.

Once your application has been processed an eviction warrant will be forwarded to a bailiff who will make contact with you to set a date for the eviction to take place. The landlord (or agent) must be at the premises at this agreed time.

It is important to advise the bailiff of any known health and safety risks such as dogs on property, gang affiliations, tenant is a known drug user or anything else you think may be useful for the bailiff to know before entering the property. This information will help the bailiff carry out the eviction process without delays.

It is a good idea to arrange for a locksmith to be present when the eviction warrant is enforced. The locksmith can change the locks so that the house is secure.

If the tenant’s belongings remain on the property after the eviction date, the landlord should arrange for the tenant to collect them. If the tenant does not collect their belongings, the landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a disposal order if necessary.

Abandoned goods has more on how to deal with belongings that the tenant’s left behind.

Orders that help you recover money

Collections – Ministry of Justice arranges financial assessments. These assess the debtor’s ability to pay the money they owe (their financial means). If the debtor has the financial means to pay the money they owe, then an order can be made.

The debtor completes a financial assessment in writing, by phone, or at a hearing at the District Court. The debtor usually needs to provide evidence of their assets and liabilities. Repayment options will be discussed.

The registrar usually makes an order for the repayment of the debt. Payments can be ordered to be made by lump sum or by instalment (most common). Payments can be ordered to be made by:

  • automatic payment directly to you
  • payment to the court
  • an order on a benefit, wages or salary that pays the money directly to you – known as an attachment order.

Financial assessments(external link) on the Ministry of Justice website tells you how to apply for an assessment.
Attachment order(external link) on the Ministry of Justice website also tells you more about this type of order.

Orders that enable belongings to be seized and sold so you can recover money

A warrant to seize property lets you have the debtor’s belongings seized and sold to pay you if necessary.

A bailiff visits the debtor and demands they pay the money they owe. If the debtor does not pay the money they owe, the bailiff can report on belongings that can be seized. Collections – Ministry of Justice can seize the belongings and sell them to pay you the money you’re owed.

Warrants to seize property are only useful where the debtor has belongings worth seizing, such as a car or other belongings with a reasonable resale value. Collections – Ministry of Justice must be satisfied that they can recover all the money owed by selling the belongings.

Warrant to seize property(external link) on the Ministry of Justice website tells you how to apply for this type of warrant.

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