What to do when faced with a rent increase and rising demand?

Rents are rising in many states across Australia, where many areas have vacancy rates of just above zero. So what do you do when asked to stretch your budget to meet a rent increase?

Key takeaways

  • Only the Australian Capital Territory has regulations which limit the amount a landlord can increase the rent
  • In most states, you can dispute a rent rise, but the onus is on you (as the tenant) to prove it’s unreasonable
  • In most cases, rents can only be increased if the original tenancy agreement includes specific details about future increases

If you haven’t had one yourself, you probably know someone whose landlord has tipped an upcoming rent increase. It can be a struggle to try and find a new rental within the budget, but the alternative can also be just as tricky – especially if you’re trying to move in a market where vacancy rates are super low.

Unfortunately for tenants, most states don’t regulate how much landlords can increase the rent.

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My landlord plans to increase the rent once I renew, but it’s more than I can afford

In most cases, your first step should always be a discussion with your property manager or landlord.

Remember that each state and territory has its own governing body to uphold tenancy regulations and resolve disputes. So, if you’re in Queensland, for example, the RTA provides a free dispute resolution service if you can’t get a result from your initial discussions.

These services don’t exist to make decisions about disputes, but they do help all parties (you and your landlord/property manager) try to reach an agreement.

If you can’t reach a resolution, you can progress the discussion to the tenancy tribunal in your state. In Queensland, that’s the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

Worth considering: If you plan to take this to the tribunal, you may need to sign the agreement for the increased rent first and then apply for a dispute resolution within a set time frame. If you win the case, you might get lesser rent, but if you don’t, you’ll be stuck with the agreement you signed.

How often can my rent be increased?

It should come as no surprise that rules around how often rent can be increased vary from state to state.

Regulations vary, but in most cases, rents can only be increased once every six months or once a year in some states.

In all states and territories (ACT being the one exception), your tenancy agreement must include a clause that relates to rent increases with either:

  • an exact amount provided; or
  • an explaantion of how it’s calculated.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. It should need to be legally advised how much landlord can increase the rent on renewal tenancy. I feel its not fare to increase more than 10 to 15$ pw. Its my personal experience, there is no increment in your pay but have to pay more to your load lords which should be fine but at the limit not more than 20$ pw increment for same property. If they know its in high demand and everyone looking for rental property so taking a advantage does not matter the propety really deserve that value.

  2. The law did once say that the rent could not increase more that $20 per week. And only once every 12 months. I’d like to know when this law changed and why. This is not fair on tenants. Landlords should not be able to do this just because they want more rent based on the value of the house. Housing values drop and rise all the time, but tenants income does not.

  3. I have just received a lease renewal notice ( current one expires in Jun 22) I have been advised my new rent will be an increase of $60 per week.

    Yes $60 per week that is just unethical and immoral in my opinion but what choice does the tenant have, sign the new lease or move out.

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