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What to do when your landlord raises the rent in Australia

The price of everything in Australia is going up, including rent – here’s what to do next time your landlord spots another rise

  • Nearly half of all tenants in Australia had rent increases in the past 12 months
  • The median home rent in capital cities is up 16.3 percent to $657 a week
  • Right now it’s an owner’s market, but you have some protection against rent increases
  • That protection varies by state or territory you live in, details are below:

New research by analysts Compare the Market has found that 49 percent of renters in Australia have had rent increases in the past 12 months, leading many to fear how much the next rent increase will be.

The good news is that renters have legal protections, although these vary depending on the state or area you live in.

But it’s an owner’s market right now and the rent, like everything else, is going up.

According to SQM Research, average home rents in state and territory capitals of Australia have increased 16.3 percent over the past year to $657 per week.

Tenants have legal protections in place in Australia, although these vary by state or area you live in (stock photo)

Tenants have legal protections in place in Australia, although these vary by state or area you live in (stock photo)

About 41 percent of all renters said it affected their ability to save, including for a down payment to buy a home.

Rent increases that are considered “excessive” are different in each location, but in general rental agencies consider increases to be excessive if they differ too much from comparable market rents, if there is a significant difference from the current rent, or if the property has outstanding repairs are needed.

The national vacancy rate for rental homes is only 1.1 percent of all homes. The vacancy rate in the regions is less than 1 percent.

Compare the market Chris Ford said it is a very difficult market for struggling renters.

“Right now there just aren’t enough rental properties available,” he said.

“Too much demand and not enough supply are some of the factors driving prices up, meaning low-income renters are the ones who will struggle the most.

‘The inability to save makes home ownership even more inaccessible for people who want to break out of the rental system.’

The national vacancy rate for rental homes is only 1.1 percent of all homes.  The vacancy rate in the regions is less than 1 percent.  Pictured is a house for rent in Melbourne

The national vacancy rate for rental homes is only 1.1 percent of all homes. The vacancy rate in the regions is less than 1 percent. Pictured is a house for rent in Melbourne

Nearly half of tenants in Australia have had their rent increased in the past 12 months (stock photo)

Nearly half of tenants in Australia have had their rent increased in the past 12 months (stock photo)

Mr Ford said rising costs were a major stress for bill payers struggling to make ends meet.

“One in five Australians feel stressed about money every day, and as many as 65 percent of renters admitted they would struggle to pay their next rent increase,” he said.

“Moving to a cheaper home is a possible solution, but while the market remains tight, good deals are hard to find and landlords are less likely to negotiate.”

House rents in Australia’s capitals have risen over the past year

SYDNEY: Up 21.3 percent to $814.30 per week

MELBOURNE: Up 9.5 percent to $558.80 per week

BRISBANE: Up to 21.8 percent up to $607.60 per week

PERTH: Increase from 12.4 percent to $582.20 per week

ADELAIDE: 19.1 percent up to $524.20 per week

CANBERRA: Up to 8.3 percent up to $771.40 per week

DARWIN: Up to 7.9 percent up to $663.60 per week

HOBART: 10.4 percent up to $533.40 per week

CAPITAL AVERAGE: 16.3 percent up to $657 a week

Source: SQM Survey median weekly home rent data showing annual increases for the year to week ending June 4, 2022

Mr. Ford said that while it is mostly people with mortgages who are hardest hit by rising interest rates, renters could be hit by landlords who recoup costs by increasing their rents.

“We are still very much in a landlord market at the moment and we have already seen rents rise over the past 12 months as a result of increased competition in tightening markets.

Average home rents in state and territory capitals of Australia have risen 16.3 percent over the past year to $657 a week, according to SQM Research (stock photo)

Average home rents in state and territory capitals of Australia have risen 16.3 percent over the past year to $657 a week, according to SQM Research (stock photo)

“In the end it comes down to what tenants are willing to pay for a roof over their heads,” he says.

Mr Ford said tenants should ensure they are aware of the relevant laws in their state or territory as there are limits to how often and by how much their landlord can raise rents.

“If a landlord has set out their intention to increase your rent by more than comparable properties in your area, you can successfully consider this excessive in your relevant court,” he said.

Breakdown by state and territory on advice for tenants

State/Territory

NSW

Victoria

Queensland

WA

SA

Tasmania

TO TRADE

NT

How often are landlords allowed to increase the rent for a periodic lease?

Once every 12 months for periodic leases.

Once every 12 months for periodic leases.

Once every 6 months.

Once every 6 months.

Once every 12 months. Rent cannot be increased in the first 12 months of the lease.

Once every 12 months, after the lease has commenced or has been extended.

Once every 12 months from the date of the last increase.

Once every 6 months and not within the first six months of the lease. Rental prices can only be increased if the right to do so has been laid down in the rental agreement.

How much notice should they give you?

At least 60 days (written notice).

At least 60 days (written notice)

Minimum 2 months (written notice). The notice must contain the date and amount of the increase.

At least 60 days (written notice).

At least 60 days (written notice).

At least 60 days (written notice).

Written notice of at least eight weeks.

Written notice of at least 30 days. The notification must state the intention to increase the rent, the amount and the date of change.

Source: Housing rental law of each state/territory.

Rent increases that are considered “excessive” are different in each location, but in general rental agencies consider increases to be excessive if they differ too much from comparable market rents, if there is a significant difference from the current rent, or if the property has outstanding repairs are needed.

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