If you think that the rent increase is too high, you can request an inspector from Consumer Affairs Victoria come and inspect the property and assess whether or not the increase is reasonable. You must make the request within 30 days of receiving the notice.
Address your request to:
The Director Consumer Affairs Victoria
GPO Box 123
Melbourne VIC 3001
or email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or send by fax to: 8684 6310
The inspector should look at the condition of the property, the facilities, and any services provided with the property, and compare the rent proposed in the notice with that of similar properties in the same area. During the inspection you should point out anything that supports your claim that the rent increase is excessive. This could include:
- the state of repair of the property
- problems with the location
- what similar properties in your area are being leased for
- any facilities or services that are provided by you rather than by the landlord
- any work you have done, with the landlord’s consent or agreement,
- any change in the rent and condition of the property or facilities since the start of your agreement and since the last rent increase
- the number of rent increases (if any) in the last 24 months and the amount of each of those increases.
If you ask the inspector to assess the rent increase, once they have carried out their investigations they will provide both you and the landlord a written report with their opinion on the increase. If the inspector considers the rent to be excessive, they may try to negotiate a fairer rent with the landlord or real estate agent.
If they do not or cannot negotiate a fair rent, once you have the report you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order that the increase not be allowed. You must apply within 30 days of receiving the inspector’s report.
If VCAT decides that the rent increase is excessive, it can order that the rent not be increased or that it be increased by a lesser amount. It can also set a period of time (up to 12 months) in which the landlord is not allowed to increase the rent. However, VCAT will make these orders only if the proposed increase would make your rent significantly more than it is for similar properties in the area.
If the rent increase comes into effect before your case is heard by VCAT, you should pay the increased amount until VCAT has made its decision. If the decision is in your favour, VCAT can order that the landlord pay you back for any increased amounts that you have already paid.