A landlord or agent can only increase rent if the rent notice is given in the correct written notice, and the rent increase is permitted under your current tenancy agreement. This applicable New South Wales (NSW) legislation which applies is the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and Residential Tenancies Act Regulation 2010.
You can negotiate a rent increase. If you receive a rent increase notice, you can ask to discuss it with the landlord or agent. They may be willing to reduce the amount of the increase, especially if you are a long standing and reliable tenant. A property lawyer can assist you with understanding your rights under the lease or rental contract.
The permitted frequency of such tenancy agreements will depend on whether the agreement type is for a fixed-term, or periodic. A fixed-term agreement is for a specified period (for example, 6 or 12 months). A periodic agreement is one where the fixed term has expired or no fixed term is specified.
The permitted frequency for a fixed-term of more than 2 years is once in any 12 month period. If the fixed-term is less than 2 years, the rent can only be increased if the agreement sets out of the increase or the method of calculating the increase. There is no permitted frequency for a periodic agreement.
The landlord/agent must give you 60 days written notice of a rent increase. The notice must specify the increased rent in addition to the day from which the increased rent applies. If the landlord/agent posts the notice, they must allow an extra 4 working days for delivery.
If you believe your rental increase has been excessive, you can negotiate with the landlord or agent to lower or withdraw the increase, or apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for an order that the new rent is excessive. You must apply within 30 days of getting a rent-increase notice. NCAT will consider a number of factors including rents for similar premises in the same area or a similar area, the landlord’s costs associated with the tenancy agreement and the value and nature of fittings, appliances and other goods, services and facilities provided with the premises.
If your landlord reduces any services with the property without reducing the rent, you can request a report from Consumer Affairs as to whether you should be given a rent reduction.
Refusal to Pay Increase in Rent
If the landlord or agent have given you valid written notice of a rent increase and you refuse to pay the increase, you will be in rent arrears. Once you are 14 days in arrears, the landlord or agent can give you a 14-day Notice to Vacate. Failure to vacate will result in an application to the Tribunal to have you evicted.
LegalVision can assist you with any questions you may have about rent increases or property disputes. LegalVision has a team of great lawyers who can assist you in understanding your property contract or lease agreement. Please call our office on 1300 544 755 and our Client Care team will happily provide you with an obligation-free consultation and a fixed-fee quote.