How often and by how much, can my landlord increase the rent on my rental property?

It’s a question most renters will ask themselves at some point.

While there are legal limits in place to protect renters, landlords also need to consider market trends and supply and demand to avoid lengthy vacancies.

It’s a delicate balance, but understanding your landlord’s decision-making process can help alleviate some of your worries. In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about rent increases and how to approach the situation as a tenant.

Should I expect my rent to increase every time my lease is renewed?

MMJ Real Estate Dapto property manager Laura McDiarmid said it’s worth remembering that each landlord is vastly different. “Expecting a rent increase at the end of your lease will only cause unnecessary worry and take away from enjoying your rental property,” she said.

“Some landlords prioritise having a good tenant who pays on time and keeping their property leased, rather than solely focusing on financial gain. However, some landlords rely on rent increases to cover their increasing costs such as mortgages, rates, insurances, and maintenance.”

“On the other hand, rent increases may be necessary to align with the market value. This decision is made with the owner’s approval, and the managing agent will facilitate it accordingly,” she added.

“So my advice is not to assume a rent increase will occur at each expiration but understand that it may be a business decision from the landlord, not a personal one against you.”

So how often can it go up?

How often your rent goes up will depend upon the type of tenancy agreement you’re on – fixed or periodic – and what state you call home. Generally, it can’t be done during a fixed tenancy unless an increase is already written into your agreement.

  • In NSW periodic tenancies, your rent can only be increased once every 12 months, and your landlord must provide you with 60 days’ notice. Any rent increases must be stated upfront for fixed-term agreements lasting less than two years. For agreements lasting more than two years, your landlord must provide you with 60 days’ notice of any rent increase, which can only occur once every 12 months.
  • If you rent in VIC and have a periodic tenancy agreement starting after 19 July 2019, your landlord can only increase your rent once a year with 60 days’ notice. If your tenancy agreement started before that date, the rent can be increased every 6 months. For fixed-term tenancies of less than 5 years, any rent increase must be stated upfront and can only occur every 6 months. For tenancies longer than 5 years, rent can only increase once a year with 60 days’ notice.
  • If you’re renting in QLD, it’s important to know that your rent can be increased every 6 months for periodic tenancies, but your landlord must give you 60 days’ notice before any increase. However, your rent cannot be raised for fixed-term tenancies unless expressly stated in your rental agreement.
  • Over in WA, if you rent on a periodic tenancy, your rent can be increased every 6 months, provided that you receive a 60-day notice from the landlord. On the other hand, like in Queensland, landlords cannot increase the rent in a fixed-term tenancy unless specified in the rental agreement.
  • This is the same again for SA; rent for periodic tenancies can be raised every 6 months, provided the landlord gives a 60-day notice. Rent cannot be increased during a fixed-term agreement.
  • In TAS, rents can usually only be increased if stated in the lease agreement and the landlord provides a 60-day warning. In most cases, your rent cannot be raised during a tenancy agreement.
  • In the NT, rent can only go up if it’s been agreed upon and included in your lease agreement. If your agreement is periodic, your landlord can increase the rent up to every 6 months, but they need to give you 30 days’ notice before doing so.
  • It’s slightly different in the ACT where rent increases can only happen once a year for periodic tenancies or at the end of a fixed-term agreement. The increase is limited to a “prescribed amount”, which is 10% of Canberra’s Consumer Price Index. Your landlord must give you 60 days’ notice before increasing the rent.

So my landlord can increase the rent, but should they?

A responsible landlord will consider various factors before raising the rent, such as the current rental market and the median rent for similar properties in the area.

They will also consider the vacancy rate, which can indicate how easy or difficult it may be to find new tenants. If there’s a shortage of rental properties in the area, your landlord may be more likely to raise the rent as they know that finding new tenants shouldn’t be a problem.

When it comes to the amount of rent increase, there are no fixed rules. However, landlords should be guided by the Consumer Price Index and the asking rent for comparable properties in the area.

If you feel that the proposed increase is unreasonable, you can dispute it, and the tribunal will assess whether it’s justifiable based on market conditions. It’s important to remember that the decision to increase the rent should be carefully considered, balancing the landlord’s financial needs with the value of retaining you as a reliable tenant.