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Rent increases

Information about when a landlord can increase rent and what a renter can do about it.

Rents cannot be increased at all during a fixed term rental agreement, unless this is provided for in the rental agreement.

For rental agreements made after 18 June 2019, rent cannot be increased more frequently than once every 12 months. Before this date, rents could be increased every 6 months.

See ss. 44—Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Notifying the renter

The rental provider must give the renter 60 days written notice in the proper form. The notice must include the amount of the rent increase and information about the way the increase was calculated.

The notice to the renter must include information of renter's right to request that Consumer Affairs Victoria investigate the proposed increase within 30 days of receiving notice.

If these steps are not taken, then the rent increase is invalid and the renter does not have to pay.

The rental provider cannot increase the rent at all during the fixed term rental agreement unless provision is made for an increase in the fixed term rental agreement. The amount of the increase must be specified in that agreement. The amount of planned increase must be specified, or the way that the increase will be calculated must be specified.

See s. 44—Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Renter’s rights

If a renter receives a notice of a rent increase and considers the increase excessive, they have 30 days to apply in writing to the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria for a rent assessment.

The Director must investigate and give a written report to the renter and a copy of the report to the rental provider.

After receiving the report, the renter may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an order declaring the rent or proposed rent excessive. The application must be made within 30 days of receiving the report.

The renter may also seek leave to VCAT for an order that the rent is excessive, without first receiving a report from the Director. VCAT may grant leave if satisfied of the renter's reason for failing to ask the Director to investigate first.

See ss. 45, 46—Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

How VCAT decides if rent increase is excessive

If an application is made for an order that rent is excessive, VCAT may find that the proposed rent is excessive and direct that the rent must not exceed a specific amount. If VCAT finds the rent is not excessive it will dismiss the application. When making a decision, VCAT will consider:

  • the Director's report (if there is one)
  • rent for comparable properties
  • state of repair and general condition of the premises
  • cost of goods and services included in the rental agreement
  • any charges that the rental provider may be liable for
  • work done by renter, with permission from the rental provider, to improve the property
  • changes in the rent and the condition of the property since the last increase
  • how many rent increases in the last 24 months (and how much)
  • valuation of the rented premises

If VCAT places a limit on the rent increase, this applies for 12 months.

See ss. 46, 47—Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

VCAT may order a rent refund

VCAT may order that the rental provider give the renter a refund for additional rent paid.

See s. 48—Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Refusal to pay increased rent

If the renter refuses to pay the increase, the renter will be in rent arrears.

See Eviction for overdue rent.

Must not take renter's goods for payment

A rental provider or agent must not take or dispose of goods belonging to the renter because the renter owes rent.

The maximum penalty is 60 penalty units.

This offence cannot be dealt with by issue of an infringement.

See s. 49—Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)

  • s. 44—notice period for rent increase is required
  • s. 45—renter may complain about excessive rent
  • s. 46—application to VCAT about excessive rent

See Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Tenants Victoria

Tenants Victoria has information about rent increases for renters.

See Tenants Victoria—Rent increases(opens in a new window).

Consumer Affairs Victoria

Consumer Affairs has information for renters and rental providers about rent.

See:

Updated