Renting a property is no doubt expensive, but costs can become unmanageable when the rent you pay is continually increased by the Landlord.

Guest post – LawPath

Rental increases can seem unfair, and in many cases they are – so read on to find out if your landlord is increasing the rental price too frequently.

Different states, different rules

Tenancy laws are made by the States, which means that the rules around tenancy are different depending on what state you live in. The relevant legislation for each state is:

NSW Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW)
VIC Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)
QLD Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld)
WA Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (WA)
SA Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA)
TAS Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Tas)
ACT Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (ACT)
NT Residential Tenancies Act 1999 (NT)

Each Act sets out how often a landlord can legally increase the rental price. In some states, the rules are more favourable to tenants than others.

For example, in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, the rent on a periodic lease can only be increased once every 6 months and for fixed term agreements, can only be increased subject to a clause in the lease allowing for this.

For every other State except NSW, the requirement is that rent can only be increased once every 12 months.

No limit on increases in NSW for periodic agreements

Interestingly, NSW is the only state where tenants living under a ‘periodic’ tenancy agreement can be subject to unlimited increases in rent, at any time.

However, if you’re on a fixed-term agreement that is for less than 2 years, then your rent can only be increased if your agreement sets out how much the increase will be by and how the landlord arrived at that figure. For fixed term agreements which are for more than 2 years, then the rent can only be increased once a year.

In every State, a landlord is required to give 60 days’ notice to a tenant when increasing the rental price. This is so that a tenant will have an opportunity to negotiate the price, and if it is simply too high, the tenant will have sufficient time to relocate.

What you can do if your rent is being unfairly increased

If you feel that the rental increase your Landlord has presented is too high, or that the rent is being increased too often, there are steps you can take to have this potentially lowered, or reviewed if necessary.

Many tenants are not aware that they have the right to request a meeting to negotiate the increased rental price with the landlord. Most landlords are willing to negotiate on the rental price, depending on the tenant’s history and what the tenant is willing to pay.

If you have had a positive relationship with your landlord in the past, and been a good tenant, it is likely that they will be open to lowering the price to something that is fair to both of you. It is worth doing your research on average rental prices in the area to provide examples of a fair rental price in your neighbourhood.

In the event that this is not successful, you can also apply to the Administrative Tribunals of most States and apply for a rent review or excessive rent order. However, if you want to do this you will have to move quickly, as there is usually a time limit within which you can dispute a rental increase notice (such as 30 days).

At this stage, you will have to compile evidence showing that the proposed rental increase is excessive, at you may also want to speak to a property lawyer to prepare all the required documents and present your case at the hearing.

If it is found that the rental increase is ‘excessive’, then the Tribunal can make an order preventing all, or part of the increase. They can also impose a ban on rental increases for a period of time.

It is always important to remember that although Landlords have rights of ownership over a property, you have your own rights as not only a tenant, but also as a consumer. If something doesn’t seem right or fair to you, don’t be afraid to question it.

LawPath

LawPath is Australia’s leading provider of online legal services for businesses and individuals, providing technology powered legal solutions at a fraction of the time, cost and complexity of the traditional system.