Hit with a rent increase? Don’t get mad, get even!

by Chris Lang on April 28, 2010

Rent Increase Contrary to what you may think, when interest rates are rising, homeowners are not the only ones getting stung.

Many of the landlords are paying mortgages too – and when their payments increase because of higher interest rates, guess who will end up paying for this increase (at least partially). Tenants, that’s right.

So if you’ve been hit with a rent increase, what are you going to do?

A. Ring the estate agents and make a fuss.

B. Tap dance on your rent increase notice, then rip it into a million pieces, then burn it and then pay.

C. Get even – the smart way.

All those in favor of option C – here is your game plan.

1. Check whether the rent increase is legit.

First, check if your landlord / agent have done everything properly. By law they are supposed to send you the Notice of Rent Increase via registered post, and give you at least 8 weeks of notice. The notice must include the amount of rent increase and the date on which the increase will occur. If your last rent increase was less than 6 (in some states 12) months ago – they can’t send you a new one. If any of the above conditions wasn’t fulfilled – you don’t have to pay the increase.

2. Negotiate it down.

If you believe that the rent increase is too high, negotiate it down. It may sound unusual, but you can – and should – negotiate with the agent / landlord, and if you are a good tenant and they are happy to have you stay, you could end up paying lower rent. If a tenant is moving out, the landlord will incur advertising expenses to find a new one or even risk the property standing vacant for a period of time – which certainly was not their intention, when they sent you that rent increase.

3. Apply for rent increase investigation.

If your negotiation failed but the rent increase still looks excessive to you, you can apply for a rent increase investigation (at no cost to you). Your rent increase form will have the details of the right people to contact.

4. Get even and get your money back.

If all else fails, there is a way of getting some of your money back – even though you will end up paying the rent increase. You may not know that your landlord is responsible for a portion of your water bills and in some cases gas bills. Under Residential Tenancies Act, you are only responsible for the usage of electricity, gas and water / sewage disposal – and your landlord is responsible for all the taxes or rates you paid to the water supply service, that are not directly related to your water usage / sewage disposal. Where bottled gas is provided, the landlord should pay for the supply or hire of bottles, and the tenant should pay just for the gas. So gather your bills, look at them and find these charges, total them and contact your agent in writing (presenting all the bills as evidence) to ask for your money back.

Photo source

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

jacquelyn May 10, 2010 at 11:03 am

These are good ideas for tenants who are struggling to pay increased rents. It is unfortunate that many people who are in this situation will not be on the internet reading. What a shame.

Reply

Tawni Williams March 18, 2011 at 5:16 am

I love the ideas in C. Most landlords will work with a tenant rather then loose income when the tenant leaves. However doing your homework is essential. Check out the landlords payments of utilities (if they cover this).

Reply

Bob Miller September 23, 2011 at 12:39 am

Thanks for the good ideas. I just found out that my rent is going to increase by 100%, and I have only been given 10 days notice. This is really unfair. I’m considering taking legal action against my landlord because I just cannot afford this. Good ideas though, I’ll definitely look for the service chargers on my bills so that I can get back at him.

Reply

Tara October 5, 2011 at 10:13 am

The part about the landlord paying for supply of electricity had me excited, although I just checked the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and it says that the landlord only has to pay for the supply if the premises are not separately metered. If the premises are separately metered, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to pay for the supply. See sections 38 and 40: http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/maintop/view/inforce/act+42+2010+cd+0+N

Reply

Alan Bawden May 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Why is there not a “D”? like, increase your income by making more out of what you normally have? 🙂

Alan Bawden

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: