FACTSHEET

Rent increases

How rent may be increased

The landlord/agent may increase the rent provided that:

  • they give you correct written notice of the increase
  • a rent increase is permitted under your tenancy agreement.

If you are a tenant of Housing NSW or the Aboriginal Housing Office, see ‘Housing NSW and AHO tenancies’ below.

How often rent may be increased

This depends on the type of tenancy agreement you have – see the table below.

fixed-term agreement is for a specified period (e.g. 6 months). A periodic agreement is one where the fixed term has expired or no fixed term is specified.

 

Agreement type Permitted frequency
Fixed-term of 2 years or more once in any 12-month period
Fixed-term of less than 2 years (see below)
Periodic no limit

Fixed-term agreements of 2 years or less

The landlord/agent can only increase the rent if your agreement sets out the amount of the increase or the method of calculating it.

Correct notice of rent increase

The landlord/agent must give you 60 days written notice of a rent increase. The notice must specify:

  • the increased rent
  • 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.

Even if details of the rent increase are set out in your tenancy agreement, you must still get 60 days written notice before the rent can be increased.

Incorrect notice

If you do not get 60 days notice and/or notice is not given in writing, you do not have to pay the increased rent.

You can write to the landlord/agent explaining that the notice is incorrect. Continue to pay your current rent.

If the landlord/agent still wants to increase the rent, they must give you a new notice.

Excessive rent increases

If you think a rent increase is excessive, you can:

  • negotiate with the landlord/agent to lower or withdraw the increase, and/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.

Negotiating a smaller rent increase

Ask to meet with the landlord/agent. You can offer to pay a little extra rent per week or to pay the increase gradually over 6–12 months. If the landlord/agent seems interested, put a proposal in writing.

While negotiating, apply to NCAT within the 30-day time limit in case you cannot come to an agreement.

Applying for an excessive rent order

If NCAT finds that a rent increase excessive, it will make an excessive rent order. The order will specify:

  • the amount that the rent must not exceed
  • the day from which this maximum rent applies – for a period of up to 12 months.

When deciding if a rent increase is excessive, NCAT will consider:

  • rents for similar premises in the same or a similar area (‘general market level of rents’)
  • the landlord’s outgoings under the tenancy agreement
  • any fittings, appliances or other goods, services or facilities provided with the premises
  • the state of repair of the premises
  • the accommodation and amenities provided in the premises
  • when the last increase was
  • any work you have done to the premises
  • any other matter it considers relevant.

NCAT will not consider your income or whether you can afford the increase.

Preparing an excessive rent case

Gather evidence to present at the tribunal hearing:

  • Look at similar properties in your area (at least 3), take photos, and gather evidence of the rent for the properties (through real estate agent listings or statutory declarations from current tenants – newspaper clippings are not enough).
  • Refer to the latest Rent and Sales Report from the Housing NSW website (www.housing.nsw.gov.au), which has the average rents in every local government area in NSW.
  • Make a list of repairs done by the landlord (if any).
  • Make a list of all rent increases since you lived at the premises.
  • Gather receipts for any work you have had done to the premises with the landlord’s consent.
  • Take photos showing the condition of the premises.
  • Find out if council and water rates have increased in recent years – get this in writing if possible (in case the landlord claims increased charges as a reason for the rent increase).

See Factsheet 11: NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service for advice.

Housing NSW and AHO tenancies

Housing NSW and the Aboriginal Housing Office can change your rent rebate without giving you 60 days notice.

To dispute a change to your rent rebate, appeal to the Housing Appeals Committee – you cannot apply to NCAT about it.

If your rent rebate is cancelled, you can apply to NCAT for an excessive rent order (see above).

Contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service with any questions.

Contacts

Updated September 2016