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?
- 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
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
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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