Although tenants always have the possibility of dealing with rent increases, it doesn’t mean that your landlord can simply increase the rent just like that – or whenever they feel like it. On the contrary to what the public believe, landlords are bound by the law so that they can’t just increase the rent or by any amount without notifying the tenants.
There are certain regulations that they need to go through (and follow) if they expect the tenants the pay more.
What Tenants Should Do
In the event you don’t agree with the increased rent, try talking to your landlord first. It’s always best to talk things through, trying to reach a basic agreement about the rent. However, if you can’t really reach an agreement, you should be able to challenge it. You should be able to reach out to Citizens Advice; there should be one in your city.
It’s always best to get advice before the increase starts. It would be difficult for you to complain or challenge the case AFTER you pay the new rent because your landlord will think that you have accepted the new rate and you are okay with it.
In most cases, if you pay new rent and then challenge it, it won’t be successful.
How Landlords May Increase the Rent
The property manager or landlord may increase the rent if:
- They have provided you with proper (and correct) notice about the increase
- Such an increase is actually allowed under the tenancy agreement
How often can the rent increase?
The rent increases depend on the tenancy agreement type. A fixed term agreement applies for a certain and specific period of time (such as 6 months or 12 months), while the periodic (or also known as continuing) agreement is for when the fixed term expires or for when no fixed term has been specified.
- For a fixed term of at least 2 years (or more), the permitted frequency of the increase is once within any of the 12-month period.
- For periodic or ongoing, the permitted frequency of the increase is also once within any of the 12-month period.
- For a fixed term of less than 2 years, the property manager or landlord can increase the rent ONLY if the agreement has set the increase amount or laid out the method of calculation.
Notice about the Rent Increase
Landlords or property managers must provide notice about the rent increases. The correct notice would be them giving you a written notice in 60 days before it applies. The notice itself should specify:
- The amount of increase rent
- The day the new rent applies
If they post the notice, they should also allow another extra 7 (working) days dedicated for delivery.
What if you don’t get the 60-day notice? Then your landlord or property manager has done the incorrect notice. If you don’t get one, you aren’t obliged to pay the increased rent.
You are able to write to them, explaining your reasons that the notice is basically incorrect.
Then you can continue to pay the rent as the current one. In the event your property manager or landlord still needs to increase the rent, then they must provide you with a new notice.
However, this method above only applies to the fixed term agreement of at least 2 years and more. If you have the fixed term agreement less than 2 years, your landlord or property manager doesn’t have the obligation to give you 60-day (written) notice because your lease agreement has set out the amount and also the effective day the new rent applies.
As it was mentioned before, the landlord can’t really increase the rent just like that, especially if it’s illogical. The increase must be relevant to the size of the property and should be within the line with the average rent within the local area.
For instance, if a one bedroom flat within an area is around $600 a month, then the landlord can’t really expect getting $900 a month for the same property size within the same area.
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The Suggested Increased Proposal
If the landlord or the property manager wants to increase the rent, they should:
- Renew the lease agreement within the end of their fixed term, and they should state the increased rent
- Agree the (rent) increase with the tenant. There should be written document of the agreement that both of them sign
That’s why it’s always advisable that you read the lease agreement before you sign it. In this way, you know the details of your lease, including your obligations and rights, how to do maintenance requests properly, and the possibility of rent increases – if any.