What are my options when my landlord tries to raise my rent?

By Anika Legal | Tue 4th July '23

If you’re reading this blog post, it’s likely that you or someone you know is worried about (yet another) rent increase by their rental provider (landlord).

So what can you do about it? What are your options?

The answer depends on:

  • what kind of rental agreement you have;
  • when your landlord wants to increase you rent; and
  • how much your landlord wants to increase your rent by.

When can my landlord raise my rent?

The table below includes some information about when your landlord can raise your rent - depending on the type of rental agreement you have, and the length of your tenancy.

If you are on a fixed-term lease, your landlord can only increase the rent during a fixed term agreement if the agreement says that they can.

If you are on a periodic lease, your landlord can only increase the rent once every 6 months (if the lease started before 19 June 2019) or once every 12 months (if the last started about 19 June 2019).

Note: This blog is for people living in private rental arrangements. Special rules apply for the amount of rent paid by people living in public housing. If this applies to you, visit the Housing Vic website for more information.

When can’t my landlord raise my rent?

Your landlord can’t raise your rent if the only reason they’re doing it is because you’ve broken any part of your rental agreement (lease).

Your landlord also can’t include any terms in your lease to say that they’re allowed to raise your rent as a punishment/penalty for you breaching your lease.

If there’s a term like this in your lease, then you should contact Consumer Affairs Victoria.

What information should my landlord give me if they want to raise my rent?

When increasing your rent, your landlord must give you a proper written notice with at least 60 days’ notice.

The notice should tell you:

  • how much the rent will increase by;
  • how the landlord calculated the rent increase (for example, did they refer to the consumer price index (‘CPI’)* / statewide rent index / by a percentage of your previous rent / by a fixed dollar amount); and
  • what you (the renter) can do if you think the increase is too high.

Note: ‘CPI’ is used to measure inflation - that is, how much prices are generally changing in the economy.

What are my options if my landlord tries to increase my rent, and I think it’s unreasonable or too high for me to afford?

Step 1 - Negotiate with your agent / landlord

  • If you have a reasonable relationship with your agent / landlord, it’s worthwhile speaking to them about the rent increase, and negotiate to agree on a smaller rent increase and/or a longer notice period (ie. longer time before your rent goes up).
  • The landlord may consider agreeing to a smaller increase if you agree to extend your lease for a longer period. Think about whether this is a suitable option for you before accepting.

Step 2 - Ask Consumer Affairs Victoria to do a ‘rent assessment’ (also known as a ‘rent increase investigation’)

If you haven’t been able to successfully negotiate a smaller rent increase with your landlord / agent, then you can reach out to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) to do a free rent assessment.

When: You have to ask for an assessment within 30 days of your landlord giving you the notice to tell you about the rent increase.

How: If you want a rent assessment, follow the steps set out in the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

Step 3 - Apply to VCAT

If you have followed Step 1 and 2, and you don’t agree with the rent assessment report, then you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

If VCAT agrees with you that the rent is too high, then they can set a maximum rent.

When: You have to apply to VCAT within 30 days of getting the rent assessment report from Consumer Affairs Victoria.

How: Follow the instructions on the VCAT website.

We last updated this page in July 2023. Please remember that this is only legal information. If you're thinking about taking action, you should chat to a lawyer for advice about your situation first.

How useful was this content?