Introduction to rent
Rent is the amount paid by a tenant to a landlord to occupy rented premises and to use the facilities and services.
Rent is payable at the place specified in the agreement, or if none is specified, at the rented premises. The rent is payable in the manner, if any, specified in the agreement (s 42).
The RT A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. does not limit the amount of rent payable by a tenant. However, a landlord must not require a tenant to pay more than one month in advance unless the weekly rent exceeds $350 (s 40).
In exceptional cases, a tenant or landlord may argue that rent can be made-up of non-monetary ‘payments’ (e.g. work done on a property). However, the A person or organisation directly involved in a court case. Parties include the plaintiff or applicant, the defendant, and any third party added to the action, but not independent witnesses. arguing that work undertaken was in lieu of monetary rent needs to prove that this was the case, and that both parties agreed to this agreement.
For more information, contact Tenants Victoria (see ‘Contacts’ at the end of this chapter).
Where rent is paid in person, the person receiving the payment must issue a receipt immediately (s 43(1)(a) RT Act). A tenant should never pay rent in cash unless they are given a receipt, especially if they do not have the landlord’s address.
Where a tenant pays rent by any other method and requests a receipt at that time, a receipt must be issued within five business days (s 43(1)(b)). The person receiving the rental payment must sign the receipt (s 43(3)).
If rent is not paid in person and a receipt is not requested, a record of the payment must be kept for 12 months. The payment record must be provided to the tenant within five business days of being requested (s 43(2),(2A)).
Where the landlord refuses to issue a receipt, the tenant can make a general application to VCAT under section 452 of the RT Act to require receipts or the production of a rental ledger.
It is an A criminal act prohibited by state or commonwealth criminal law. An offence is either a summary offence (minor) or an indictable offence (serious). for a landlord or their A person who acts for someone else. They can make decisions, carry out tasks or make agreements for the other person. For example, if you ask someone to bid for you at an auction they will be acting as your agent. to fail to comply with these requirements (see ‘Notice to Leave, offences and suspensions’, below).
The landlord must give at least 60 days’ notice in writing, in the proper form, of a rent increase. The notice may only provide for one rent increase. The notice must inform the tenant of their right to apply, within 30 days, to CAV to investigate the rent increase (s 44(3) RT Act). Any rent increase notice that does not comply with these requirements is Not valid; with no legal effect and not enforceable at law. For example a legal provision or document may be invalid because it is not in proper legal form.. The tenant does not have to pay the increase and may seek reimbursement for any rent paid in accordance with an invalid rent increase (which can be applied for no more than six years after the increase).
New The agreement between a landlord and a tenant for the rental of a property. agreements containing rent increases may be challenged on the basis of failing to comply with the RTAct (s44) (see Shafer v Bourke (Residential Tenancies)  VCAT 874 (11 June 2015)).
Rent increases: Periodic agreements
Rent increases for all new tenancies can only be increased once every 12 months (s 44(4A) RT Act). For existing periodic tenancies that were not renewed before 3 April 2019, the rent can be increased every six months until the tenancy ends or a new fixed-term agreement is entered into for the same premises (cf sch 1, cl 16).
Rent increases: Fixed-term agreements
The landlord cannot increase the rent during the course of a fixed-term tenancy unless the tenancy agreement allows for a rent increase during the fixed term (s 44 RT Act).
Tenants should be wary and seek advice before signing a A document that sets out an agreement between a landlord and a tenant for the renting out of property, or for the use of other personal property such as a car. with rent increases ‘built in’. If there is a clause allowing rent increases during the fixed term, the landlord can increase the rent in accordance with that clause and the RT Act.
The An order made by the Supreme Court of Victoria or the High Court of Australia prohibiting a body from acting outside its authority. See also jurisdiction; prerogative writ; ultra vires. on increasing the rent payable at intervals of less than sixmonths still applies (s 44(4A)). The landlord is also still required to provide 60days written notice, in the proper form, in order for any rent increases ‘built in’ to a fixed-term agreement to be Legally binding or effective. (s 44(1)).
Is the rent increase excessive?
If the tenant believes the proposed rent is excessive, they can make a free application to the Director of CAV to investigate and report as to whether this is so (s 45(1) RT Act). The application must be made within 30days of receiving a Rent Increase Notice (s 45(2)).
The tenant can make the application by letter or can use the ‘request for repairs inspection’ form or the ‘rent assessment’ form available from CAV. The tenant can provide reasons with the application for why they believe that the rent is excessive. Complaints may be related to the state of repair of the property, or if amenities or services provided at the start of the tenancy have been reduced or withdrawn.
A CAV inspector must carry out the investigation and give a written report about the rent to the tenant and landlord as soon as practicable. The report A document that sets out what a person wants to happen to their money and other property after they die. state whether or not in the Director’s opinion the rent is excessive. The report must take into account considerations listed in the RT Act (s 47(3)).
Rent increases: Application to VCAT
If the director’s report finds the increase excessive, the tenant may apply to VCAT for an order to this effect. This application to VCAT must be made within 30 days of receiving the inspector’s report (s 46 RT Act).
The application to VCAT should request an order declaring the rent or proposed rent excessive. A copy of the director’s report must be attached to the application (r 8.07(1) VCAT Rules). VCAT will take into account the inspector’s report and the facts of the case (s 47(3)). The tenant should obtain as much Material presented to a court to prove or disprove a fact. It can include what witnesses say as well as documents and other objects. as possible on the matter (s 47(3)) before the VCAT The time and place at which a court or tribunal hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision..
If the rent increase comes into effect before the VCAT hearing, the tenant must pay the increased rent. If the application is decided in the tenant’s favour, VCAT can order that the tenant be reimbursed any increased rent that has already been paid. If the tenant does not pay the increased rent, they will be in Money owed that is due on a certain date and is late being paid (overdue). and at risk of The lawful removal of a tenant from a property. If a tenant who has been lawfully told to leave refuses to leave, the owner can take possession back by asking a court to issue an order. The order can then be enforced by the Sheriff’s Office..
Rent increases: Form 2 long-term tenancy agreements
For Form 2 lease agreements, rent increases are regulated by clauses 6 and 13. These clauses state that parties are to negotiate rent increases; increases could be based on CPI, or on the state rent index (published by DHHS), or an increase could be a fixed percentage or a fixed dollar amount. Rent increases under all these options (except for the fixed dollar increase) are still conditional on a notice of rent increase, as described above.
Rent increases: Specialist disability accommodation
Rent increases under SDA agreements are the same as under normal tenancy agreements. However, rent increases cannot be more frequent than once every six months (s 498ZB RT Act). The factors a CAV inspector must consider are set out in section 498ZI(2). Applications to challenge a notice of rent increase may be made (see s 498ZH).