Landlords can increase rent if the tenancy agreement allows this, but they must give the correct notice and meet certain conditions. They must take into account the type of tenancy, a notice period, and market rents. They can also increase the bond at the same time.

Rent increases

Landlords can only increase rent:

  • after the first 180 days of the tenancy
  • provided the increase is not within 180 days of the last increase.

For a fixed-term tenancy, landlords can only increase rent if there is a provision to do so in the fixed-term tenancy agreement.

Landlords must give notice to increase rent

A landlord must give a tenant no less than 60 days’ written notice of a rent increase. Boarding house landlords must give a tenant no less than 28 days’ written notice. 

The notice must be served in writing, say how much the rent is increasing by and the day the increased rent is due. The landlord should keep a copy of the notice. If the landlord doesn’t give the correct notice, they can do one of the following:

  • serve it again correctly
  • ask the tenant to allow them to extend the notice time so it is correct, or
  • apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the notice extended (if the tenant will not allow the landlord to extend the notice).

Serving notices tells you how much time you need to allow for when you serve a rent increase notice.

Increasing rent after the landlord has reduced it

Returning to normal rent after a landlord has reduced it for a while is not a rent increase.

Landlords decide how much to increase the rent

The law doesn’t limit the amount of a rent increase, but does say how it must be done, and what can be done if the tenant doesn’t agree with the new rent amount.

If a landlord is charging significantly more than for other similar properties, the Tenancy Tribunal could make an order for it to be reduced. The tenant will need to provide evidence that their rent is substantially higher than rent for other houses in the area similar to the one they’re renting.

A landlord and tenant can agree to an increase of the rent (outside of the usual 180-day period) if the landlord has:

  • improved the property, which increases its value and benefits the tenant 
  • improved facilities or services provided to the tenant 
  • changed the tenancy agreement to benefit the tenant.

A landlord or a tenant may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to review the rent increase if:

  • the tenant doesn’t agree to increase the rent when the landlord has improved the property or changed the tenancy agreement to benefit the tenant
  • the landlord has had unforeseen expenses since the rent was last increased.

If the Tenancy Tribunal increases the rent for these reasons, this doesn’t change the date the rent is normally reviewed or increased by the landlord.

Landlords and tenants should keep in contact with each other and discuss any possible changes to the amount of rent at an early stage.

Market rent shows recent rents in your area.

Landlords can increase the bond when they increase rent

When lawfully increasing the rent, the landlord may ask the tenant to pay extra bond money based on the number of weeks’ bond charged in the tenancy agreement.

For example, the rent goes up by $10 per week. The tenant paid 3 weeks’ rent as bond money. So the landlord can ask for an extra $30 to be added to the bond.

Extra bond money needs to be lodged with the rest of the bond, by completing a bond lodgement form.