If you are a renter in Victoria, the landlord can only increase the rent under certain circumstances – not more than once in any six-month period, and never while a lease is current. So what happens when a landlord tries to jack up the rent as much as then can?
Back in January 2010 I moved out of the family home in Geelong, taking up residence in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne. Rent was $290 a week for my two bedroom flat, with the only downsides being the original 1970s kitchen and crudtastic electric stove. Despite that, I liked the location and the large balcony, so I spent the next two years living there.
After the initial one year lease ended in January 2011, I received a letter from the landlord signalling their intention to put the rent up to $310 a week, and at the beginning of 2012 I received notice of another rent increase – this time to $320 a week. With a kitchen too small to accommodate two people and me wanting to move in with my girlfriend, forking out more money for my dated kitchen was the last straw – I began the search for somewhere new.
By October 2012 I had handed the keys back, when I found my old place advertised online to rent for $330 per week – a $10 increase above the inflated price I had just been paying. I’m guessing the landlord figured they’d see why the market could bear.
Fast forward to today, when I checked the real estate websites – turns out my old place is still available to rent, but the asking price has now plummeted to $290 per week. With their investment property having sat empty for three months, my former landlord is already down $4000 in rental income – I guess their optimism regarding what the market can bear was misplaced!