Increasing the rent during a tenancy and time to replace alarms - Real estate industry bulletin 250
25 November 2021
Increasing the rent during a tenancy and time to replace smoke alarms
In this bulletin:
- Increasing the rent during a tenancy
- Is it your smoke alarm's 10-year anniversary?
Increasing the rent during a tenancy
Consumer Protection has recently received a rise in queries about rental increases.
A landlord can increase the rent for a tenancy at their property as long as they follow the rules about how to do so. Those rules are outlined in this bulletin.
During a fixed-term tenancy agreement
A tenancy agreement with specific start and end dates is known as a fixed-term tenancy agreement. Typically, a fixed-term agreement will be for a six or 12-month term.
A landlord cannot seek to increase the rent during a fixed-term tenancy unless there is a clause within the agreement that allows for an increase. An increase can only occur at least six months after either the start of the tenancy or the last rental increase that occurred under a notice, and by providing the correct written notice of the intention to increase the rent.
During a periodic tenancy agreement
Tenancy agreements that do not have an end date are known as periodic tenancy agreements. These types of tenancies can either start off as a periodic agreement or occur when a fixed-term agreement expires but the tenancy does not end.
Under a periodic agreement, the rent can increase once every six months from either the start of the tenancy or the last rental increase that occurred under a notice, so long as you provide the correct written notice to the tenant.
When renegotiating a tenancy agreement
You may also increase the rent under a new tenancy agreement with an existing tenant at the same property. The new agreement should state the amount of the new rent or the change in calculation method.
If the previous agreement was a periodic arrangement, the increased rate of rent is payable from the start date of the new agreement.
However, if the previous agreement was for a fixed-term, the tenant is not required to pay the increased rate of rent for the first 30 days after the start date of the new agreement. This applies whether the new agreement is for another fixed-term or a periodic arrangement.
What kind of notice do I have to provide for the increase?
To lawfully cause a rent increase during an active tenancy agreement, you need to:
- Check the type of tenancy agreement the landlord has with the tenant to see if it allows for a rent increase during the tenancy;
- Use the correct form to provide the required written notice to the tenant;
- State on the form the amount the rent will increase to. If the rent is decided by the tenant’s income, you need to state the change in calculation method; and
- Include the date that the tenant will need to start paying the new rent, on the form. This date must be at least 60 days after the notice is given to the tenant, and at least six months after either the date the tenancy started or the date the last rent increase started under a previously issued increase notice.
For a standard rental increase, you will need to provide the tenant with the Form 10 – Notice to tenant of rent increase. If rent is calculated based on the tenant’s income, you need to use the Form 11 – Notice to tenant of rent increase calculated by tenant’s income.
If the increase will occur under a renegotiated tenancy agreement, you do not have to use the above forms to provide the notice. The new tenancy agreement that states the new rent or calculation method will act as the notice.
If a tenant does not receive the correct notice, they can lodge a complaint with Consumer Protection for assistance.
What if the tenant does not agree to the increase?
If you have correctly sent the required notice to the tenant and they do not agree with the increase, the tenant may choose to:
- try to negotiate with the landlord, through you, about the increase;
- request a mutually agreeable end to a fixed-term tenancy before the expiry date;
- provide the landlord with at least 30 days written notice to end the fixed-term tenancy agreement on or after the expiry date, so long as the notice is provided before the expiry date;
- provide the landlord with at least 21 days written notice to end the periodic tenancy agreement;
- decline the new tenancy agreement and provide the minimum amount of written notice to end the existing tenancy agreement, being either 21 days for a periodic tenancy or 30 days for a fixed-term tenancy; or
- apply to the Magistrate’s Court for a decision on whether the increase is excessive under the circumstances, such as if the property is not being properly maintained.
Where a tenant is struggling to pay a rent increase, the Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme offers future rent support for eligible tenants who are experiencing financial difficulty now that the emergency period has ended. Applications for assistance close on 31 December 2021.
Our rent increases page can provide you with additional information.
If you have any questions about rent increases, you can contact Consumer Protection’s advice line on 1300 304 054 or email, email@example.com.
Is it your smoke alarm’s 10-year anniversary?
October 2021 marked the 10th anniversary of the requirement under Western Australia’s Building Regulations that any dwelling being sold, rented or hired must have compliant smoke alarms.
By law, the installation, maintenance and replacement of smoke alarms remains the responsibility of the property owner, and not of the tenants. Property owners must replace all types of smoke alarms every 10 years. Remember, only a licensed electrical contractor can replace the hard-wired smoke alarms.
The next time you are inspecting a rental property, check that:
- all smoke alarms are less than 10 years old – the replacement date is often located on the unit;
- the smoke alarms are firmly secured (double-sided tape is not acceptable) in the correct location as stated in the Building Code of Australia; and
- the green visual display light is lit up, showing that the smoke alarm is connected to the mains power.
The joint media release from Building & Energy and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services is available on our website.
Building & Energy’s Smoke alarm laws for existing dwellings fact sheet will provide you with additional information on the requirements.
Information on smoke alarms for rental properties is available on our Smoke alarms and RCDs page.
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