Aussie landlord shot down after rent increase whinge backfires

A landlord has copped backlash after whinging about not being able to illegally increase her tenant’s rent.

The rant, which was posted in the Landlords Australia Facebook group, started with the homeowner revealing they were hiking up their tenant’s rent, but there was one particular rule they were finding “frustrating”.

“I find the 12 month limit between increases frustrating as it’s actually encouraging me to put it higher than I would have as I only get one shot at it,” she wrote.

The landlord add that she if she were to err on the “low side” when it comes to the increase, then it was a “long time” before she could adjust it.

In the majority of Aussie states and territories, rent can only be increased once every 12 months and, in many areas, the landlord must provide 60 days notice before the increase occurs.

If the landlord was hoping for sympathy from her fellow investment property owners, then she was sorely mistaken.

The comment section was quickly flooded with landlords telling the woman that increasing the rent higher than she usually would purely because she doesn’t like the idea of not being able to do it again for 12 months is not reasonable.

Commenters informed the woman that the market rate in her area should be the main factor in deciding what the rent for the property should be.

“The key is not to err on any particular side, but produce correct, substantial, corroborated evidence for an amount that reflects the market at the correct time, then apply the increase,” one person said.

“It should be essentially procedural and evidence based rather than emotive. This would be the same whether an increase is once annually or more than that.”

Another person claimed it was not the responsibility of the tenant to “constantly cover your financial needs”, pointing out that there are risks associated with investments and being a landlord was no exception.

One added: “For me the 12 month thing is not an issue. Most leases are for that term. Put it up to market rate, that is the barometer.”

Others even encouraged the woman the “err on the low side” of the current market rate if she wanted to build a lasting relationship with her tenants.

“If you ask too much your tenants might leave. If they are good tenants you might want to consider a slightly lower amount to keep them,” one person said.

“Is your tenant a good tenant? Have you improved the property at all since the last rent increase? Have your costs substantially risen, and if so, why? Your property is appreciating as an asset, that’s where you make your money eventually. The tenant and the rent don’t cover everything,” another added.

Her fellow landlords warned that increasing the rent beyond its market value would see her risk losing her tenants and being out of pocket for rent.

“If you put it up so it’s not comparable chances are you’ll lose your tenants and risk losing your rent being paid for x amount of time until next tenants are in and that’ll be if they are desperate enough to pay more than its ‘worth’,” one person said.

While the majority of landlords were encouraging the homeowner to be reasonable in her rent increase approach, there were those who agreed with her line of thinking.

“I completely agree … market value now will not be market value in 6 to 7 months let alone 12!” one person said.

Another investor claimed that she should increase the rent to the “higher end” of the market value, saying: “That should work in your favour”.

While landlords are restricted in how often they can up the rent, there is no official cap on the amount they can increase it by.

Rent is typically influenced by local supply and demand and how much comparable properties are being advertised for.

However, if a tenant believes they have been given an unreasonable rent rise, they can try and negotiate a smaller increase with their landlord or property manager.

If this doesn’t work then there are officially channels, such as state government civil and administrative tribunal bodies, that they can take their complaint to.

According to realestate.com.au, when determining whether or not a rent increase is unfair, these bodies will consider a number of factors.

This could include looking at a range of market rents usually charged for comparable properties, the difference between the proposed and current rent, the state of repair of the property, term of the tenancy and the period since the last rent increase.

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