If you think the proposed rent increase is too high, or your rent has been increased more often than the law allows, you can apply to Consumer Affairs Victoria to challenge it.
This is a free service.
Making the application
Your application must be made in writing within 30 days of receiving the notice [section 45]. There are two ways you can apply:
- Use the ‘requesting an investigation of rent increase’ section on the last page of the official ‘Notice of proposed rent increase’ form that the rental provider must give you
- Use the Request for repairs inspection or rent assessment form on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website
Send a copy of your request form, along with a copy of the full ‘notice of proposed rent increase’ form the rental provider sent you, to Consumer Affairs Victoria by post or email.
Consumer Affairs Victoria address
Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria
GPO Box 123
Melbourne VIC 3001
Consumer Affairs inspection
Once your application has been received Consumer Affairs Victoria will investigate the proposed rent increase [section 45].
This will include arranging for an inspector to come out to your home to 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 those 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 rented for
- Any facilities or services that are provided by you rather than by the rental provider
- Any work you have done, with the rental provider’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.
Once the inspector has carried out their investigations, they will give both you and the rental provider a written report with their opinion on the increase [section 45].
If the inspector considers the increase to be too high, they may try to negotiate a fairer rent with the rental provider or real estate agent.
Applying to VCAT
If the inspector thinks the increase is too high, but the rental provider will not reduce it, you can use the inspector’s report to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order that the increase not be allowed [section 46].
You must apply within 30 days of receiving the inspector’s report [section 46].
If VCAT agrees the increase is excessive it can set a maximum rent at a lower level. It can also set a period up to 12 months, during which the rental provider is not allowed to increase the rent [section 47].
VCAT will likely only make these orders if the proposed increase would make your rent significantly more than it is for similar properties in the area.
If the increase is due to start before VCAT hears your application, you must pay the increased amount until VCAT has made its decision. If VCAT orders that the increase is excessive and sets a lower maximum rent, it can also order that the rental provider must pay back any increased amounts you have already paid [section 48]. Make sure you ask VCAT for this in your application or at the hearing.
Applying to VCAT without a report from Consumer Affairs Victoria
If you did not apply to Consumer Affairs Victoria to challenge the proposed rent increase, and 30 days have passed since you have received the notice, you can still apply to VCAT if you think the proposed increase is too high. However, before VCAT will hear your application it will need to be satisfied that there were reasonable grounds for you failing to request an investigation by Consumer Affairs Victoria [Section 46].