Rent Increases in Australia - what you need to know

Rent increases are a normal part of renting. Sure, they can sometimes take you by surprise, but at the end of the day, rental markets and maintenance costs change and rent often follows suit. The vast majority of the time, rent increases reflect increased demand within the rental market, but when a rent increase takes you by surprise or seems excessive, there’s a couple important things to know.

Understanding your legal rights and the laws behind rent increases can help you if you ever find yourself in an unfair situation surrounding a rent increase.

What does an unfair rent increase look like?

There are two main types of unfair rent increases:

More frequent than legally allowed

In most states, rent can not be increased more than once every 6 or 12 months. If your landlord asks for a rent increase more than once in your states described period of time, then this is an unfair rent increase (see state by state details below)

Excessive increases

Rent increases can only be implemented when there is a reason to do so. This may be due to a renovation to the property, new amenities for the property or when there is increased competition for the property (often coinciding with a strong rental market). If your landlord asks for an excessive rent increase that isn’t due to upgrades to the house, check if similar properties in your area are also implementing rent increases. If not, then the landlords claim for increased interest may not be substantiated.

How to deal with an unfair rent increase

If you’ve been issued a rent increase within an illegal timeframe, then provide your landlord with the last date of the rent increase and a screenshot of your state’s described rent increase period laws and make sure you get all communication in writing.

If you believe you’ve been subject to an excessive rent increase, then try to negotiate with the landlord or property manager. If you’ve been a reliable and trustworthy tenant, then make a case for why the rent increase shouldn’t be so excessive and try to meet each other half-way.

If this doesn’t work, and you wish to contest the rent increase, then here’s some good places to start:

  1. Lodge your dispute with your local administrative tribunal. In the meantime:
  2. Look at similar properties in your area. Gather photos, evidence through real estate listings to prove that rent increases in the local market are not similar to your rent increase;
  3. Refer to your municipality or state’s rent and sales reports and look for increases in average rent prices for the area;
  4. Make a list of repairs done by the landlord (if any);
  5. Make a list of all rent increases since you lived at the premises;
  6. Gather receipts for any work you have had done to the premises with the landlord’s consent;
  7. Take photos showing the conditions of the premises; and
  8. Find out of council water rates have increased in recent years - get this in writing (in case the landlord claims increased water charges as a reason for the rent increase)


Note: It’s best to try to resolve rent disputes with your landlord first. If this doesn’t get resolved quickly, you can apply to your local housing administrative tribunal, although you’ll often need to report the dispute within 30 days’ of the notice of rent increase, so be sure to check your state’s legislation.

NSW

Fixed lease: For fixed leases over 2 years, rent can be increased once per 12 months

Periodic lease: There is no limit to how often rent can be increased.

Notice: 60 days’ written notice

More information: https://www.tenants.org.au/factsheet-04-rent-increases

VIC

Fixed lease: Once per 12 months

Periodic lease: Once per 12 months

Notice: 60 days’ written notice

More information: https://www.tuv.org.au/advice/rent-increase/

QLD

Fixed lease: Once per 6 months

Periodic lease: Once per 6 months

Notice: 60 days’ written notice

More information: https://rta.qld.gov.au/Renting/During-a-tenancy/Rent-and-other-bills/Rent-increases

ACT

Fixed lease: Once per 12 months

Periodic lease: Once per 12 months

Notice: 8 weeks’ written notice

More information: http://www.tenantsact.org.au/renting-advice/tenancy-factsheets/rent-increases-and-reductions/

SA

Fixed lease: Once per 12 months

Periodic lease: Once per 12 months

Notice: 60 days’ written notice

More information: https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/housing/renting-and-letting/renting-privately/Start-of-tenancy/Rent-charges-increases-and-receipts

WA

Fixed lease: Once per 6 months

Periodic lease: Once per 6 months

Notice: 60 days’ written notice

More information: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection/rent-increases

NT

Fixed lease: Once per 6 months

Periodic lease: Once per 6 months

Notice: 30 days’ notice

More information: https://www.fhba.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/NT-Tenancy-Factsheet.pdf

TAS

Fixed lease: Once per 12 months

Periodic lease: Once per 12 months

Notice: 60 days’ written notice

More information: https://www.cbos.tas.gov.au/topics/housing/renting/during-a-tenancylease/rent-increases


Happy renting,

Team Snug