Commissioner's Blog: How rising rent may impact your bond
As rents continue rising across Western Australia, many tenants are finding that in addition to paying more money to live in their home each week, there is an extra expense they need to consider.
After rent is increased at a property, a landlord or property manager is entitled to ask the tenant to pay extra money towards their security bond.
Known as a ‘bond top-up’, the amount of money requested will depend on how much the weekly rent has increased. For a property rented at $1,200 a week or less, the maximum total security bond that can be charged is the equivalent of four weeks’ rent, while for weekly rents above $1,200 there is no limit on the total bond that can be charged.
New figures show the Bonds Administration team at Consumer Protection has handled around 69,000 bond top-ups since the COVID-19 rental moratorium ended 15 months ago – an average of 153 lodgements a day. This figure is around three times higher than the 50 lodgements the team typically processed before the emergency period took effect.
Tenants facing rent rises should know there are strict rules surrounding how often their landlords or property managers are allowed to request the extra funds be paid.
In both fixed-term and periodic (no fixed end-date) leases, rent increases can only occur after the first six months, and on a half-yearly basis thereafter.
Only once the rent has been lawfully increased can the landlord or property manager request a bond top-up and they must provide the tenant with a receipt detailing the date the money was received, the name of the person (or people) paying the bond, the amount paid and the address of the rental property.
The tenant should also expect to receive a notification from the Bonds Administrator that the bond variation has been received.
While market forces generally determine rental prices, if a tenant believes what they’re paying is too high, they should try negotiating with the landlord or property manager to request a reduction or argue against a proposed increase, before making an application to the Magistrates Court.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection