All Topics / Help Needed! / Rent Rise every 6 months..Plight of a TENANT.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Profile photo of freefree
    Join Date: 2010
    Post Count: 17

    Hi Forumates

    (Long Post)

    As the Subject suggests our Landlord and Agent have increased the Rent twice in the last 6 months, last one was in Sept 10 and the next one is set to rise in April (Notice Received). In the last 1 1/2 years the rent has gone up 3 times. Currently we are on a Month to Month Lease.

    As to start with I will explain our situation, The property was leased by mother in 2007 Feb as a matter of fact its been exactly 4 years since we made the move.. The property at the time was in bad condition and needed a few things changed including the flooring, the only thing that the landlord approved to replace was the carpet and it took them about 4 months to change,.the rent at the time was $325. My mother passed away in 2009 March battling cancer at the age of 56, and since then no new lease has been signed. We informed the agent about her death and he asked us to visit him in the office with relevant documents to sign up a new lease since then he hasn’t approached us to sign a new lease, though the agent approached us to move to another unit in the same block which was recently vacated and also mentioned that the landlord has mentioned to him that his family may want to move in in Dec 2010.

    After my mother passed away we were only three of us left until last year when we had a new addition to the family a baby boy.

    Its a 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bathroom unit in a small complex of 16 townhouses. Our townhouse is the 2nd largest in the complex only reason being its got a huge L shaped balcony and a huge garage. Location Carlingford SYDNEY

    Number of occupants 2A 1C 1i

    The Condition of the Unit.

    The Carpet which was laid out is worse than commercial grade, but we have managed.
    The Kitchen is old and rusting, most of the places the wood has started to chip, so (Original Kitchen 25-30 yrs old) I had the agent in Oct 2010 to get the net of the rangehood replaced at the time of periodic inspection I even showed it to the Handyman and he said it needs replacement and will inform the agent about it but no action has been taken since. Last year on the First day of Easter Break our stove and oven stopped working and I texted him to get it fixed, firstly he never got back to me and then when I again texted he told me I need to put it on an email for him to get it fixed and it took him 2 weeks to send some one to get going.

    The bathrooms are in original condition and the wood used for the vanity has lost its color and shine and hence looks very bad I also asked him to replace the toilet seats on which he asked me why and I showed him the reason why still no action was taken. We havent used the ensuite bathroom for over a year becasue there was some kind of smell which was again pointed out by me at the time of inspection and the agent didn’t bother to do anything about it.

    We alos have a backyard which is more or less unusable due to the trees which shed more leaves in a day than some trees would shed in autumn, its a cumbersome job to clean it it everyday, so for us the backyard is practically useless, the only good thing about it is it opens up on the street so sometimes getting bulky goods are easier to move in or out.

    For the past four years we have told him one of the bedrooms upstairs and the living room gets wet during heavy downpour, and the water comes in through the window sill, he said its a strata issue and either of them have not taken any steps to rectify it. We have palced a bucket 24/7 under the window sill never know when it rains, because of the water the room starts to smell and the living room becomes messy.

    The house does not have any air conditioning and it faces EAST so during summers the inside temp is always 2-3 degrres higher in our bedrooms few days back when the mercury had peaked to 42 the inside temp of our house was way above 45degrees.

    Enough about the Unit and the agent I guess.. Below are some good points about we the tenants LOL.

    1. We have always paid our rent on time sometimes before even though I have been off work for the past 7 months on unpaid sick leave for an incident that happened at work.
    2. Never have made mountains out of mole hills.
    3. Kept the property in very neat (as neat and tidy condition though as much as we clean because of the carpet the house always looks dull and untidy) can attach photos to prove.
    4. We have tried not to bother the Agent or the Landlord for small petty things like globes and kitchen flouroscent or even changing the washer in the flush tank.
    5. Bathrooms are cleaned and washed every week.

    The advise I would like to seek from all the Forumates
    1. Can I put a clause which says rent increase will only be excepted if the house is in better living condition.
    2. How do I find out the current market rent of the townhouses in our complex, I did speak to one of the tenants who has a similar townhouse without the huge balcony and floorboards he is paying only $410.
    3. Can I take the agent to the Tribunal for rent increases.
    4. Do you think he is taking advantage of us being nice and silent.
    5. What do I do with the backyard issue, can I ask him to remove some of the trees. There are 2 palm trees as well sometimes its scary when it sheds its enormous leaves, once it missed my 6 year old daughter, it could have been dead serious, I ignored it thinking its just one off incident, but leaves do not fail to fall.

    Please would love to hear from you all.
    Warm Regards

    Profile photo of Dan42Dan42
    Join Date: 2008
    Post Count: 619

    Hi Free,

    Rules vary in each state, but the landlord is well within their rights to increase the rent every 6 months here in South Australia, even if a longer term tenancy is in place. I think this is different in other states. Month to month tenancies are also treated differently in other states.

    To answer your questions.

    1) I would guess the clause wouldn't work. The landlord is offering the use ofthe property to you, under his/her terms. It's up to you if you accept them or not. If you don't, then generally you can either, a) find another property, or b) negotiate. Some LL's are more likely to negotiate than others.
    2) Ask other tenants in the buiding, check what similar properties in the area are going for on real estate websites.
    3) I would assume the landlord is well within their rights to increase the rent. 
    4) Maybe, it's hard to know hearing only one side of the story.
    5) There is no harm in asking. I would if I was you.

    It sounds likethe problem may be the agent, more than the landlord (from waht you've said). When my wife and I were renting, we had a small issue that required the agent's attention and we could not get him on the phone. My wife, who is a determined type when she gets a bee in her bonnet, rang the agent CONSTANTLY until we got some action. Sometimes the squeeky wheel gets the grease, and if you are calling about genuine concerns (like a new lease or leaking roof) then the agent should bring this to the LL's attention.

    The advantage for you with being on a month to month lease is that you are free to look for another property to rent. Maybe that is another option you could pursue. 

    Profile photo of Scott No MatesScott No Mates
    Join Date: 2005
    Post Count: 3,856

    As pointed out above, it is not unusual for a rent increase to be applied every six months however 2 months notice (now 3 in some states) must be given. If you object to the rent increase you will need to follow the proceedure (ie contact office of fair trading in your state and find out what you can do and how).

    You can invesigage what rents are being asked for on websites like domain or or google "old listings" or the like or you can ask other tenants, whether they tell you or not is debateable.

    Profile photo of DafnnyDafnny
    Join Date: 2011
    Post Count: 18

    Hello Forumates,

    My name is Dafnny and I am a property manager in Sydney I hope that this helps.

    The Tenancy Legislation has changed and due to this the landlord is obligated to do necessary repairs ie water leaks is a serious repair and if not attended to this will not only cause problems to the house but also health problems if mould starts to grow.

    • You must do your research to see if the rent charge is in line with the properties leased in similar conditon to your unit. If it is over than you can take this further to the tenancy tribunal to have the rent reduced.
    • Rental Increases are normally reviewed every 6 months however it is now only once a year
    • You can take an agent/landlord to tribunal but you have to make sure you have all your paper work in place .. ie photos and even handymans assessment of the condition of the property. Just remember you can not force a Lanldord to renovate but you can ask for repairs to be done.. and if you feel that your rent is higher than current rentals than you can ask for a rent reduction.
    • Tree removal depends on council however you can ask for pruning and council may only consider removal if it is damaging property.

    Good luck

    Profile photo of Andrew Lee LawyersAndrew Lee Lawyers
    Join Date: 2011
    Post Count: 37

    Hi Free,

    Looks like you having it tough there. I usually sign tenants up for 12 month leases.
    Not too much mucking around for at least a year. Tenants seem to be happy.

    <moderator: delete advertising>

    Profile photo of freefree
    Join Date: 2010
    Post Count: 17

    Good Morning Forumates

    Thank you for taking out time and replying to my post. Its much appreciated.

    I have no issues paying $470 a week provided the condition of the house is improved, otherwise might as well move to another house pay a bit more and live closer to work.

    At present there are no properties on lease in our block which is the oldest block on our street, other townhouses are relatively new as compared to ours and hence they demand higher rent. What I remember last year we had new neighbours move in next door, the property is exactly the same configuration but a slightly bigger back and front yard (this unit does not have a balcony its the corner house) and floorboards. I think he leased the unit for $460 will try to catch him today and find out.

    Andysydney thanks for the offer unfortunately Liverpool is quite a distance from my wifes office who drives to work everyday, but will definetly contact you if circumstances change, but I appreciate it.

    Have a nice day, and thanks once again for replying.


    Profile photo of SAS BuildingSAS Building
    Join Date: 2009
    Post Count: 25

    On the flipside, the landlord would have had about 6 interest rate rises in the time that you have had 2 rent increases, also you knew the condition of the place when you first moved in so if you didnt like it you should not have signed the lease and looked for something else.
    Also, my deepest sympathies are with you regarding your mother passing away and can understand that times are very tough, but please note MOST landlords also have families to support and the banks are not very sympathetic if a mortgage payment is missed. They can often lose their own house, including their rental property/s.

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