Rent payments and increases - Information for lessors and landlords
Rent in advance
Most lessors/agents require tenants to pay their rent in advance. For example, the tenant may pay rent every second Saturday to live in the place for the next 2 weeks. The tenant will normally pay the first lot of rent before they move in.
Rent in advance is not part of the rental bond. No matter how much rent the tenant pays in advance, they cannot be asked to pay more rent until the rent paid in advance has been used up.
The lessor/agent cannot ask the tenant to pay more than 1 month`s rent in advance if they have a fixed term agreement, or more than 2 week`s rent in advance if they have a periodic agreement. However, the tenant can pay more rent in advance if they want to.
The tenant and the lessor/agent should agree on how, where, and how often the rent will be paid. This must be included in the tenancy agreement. Once an agreement is reached on how to pay rent it cannot be changed for the duration of the tenancy agreement unless both the tenant and the lessor/agent agree.
If the tenant pays their rent in cash, the lessor/agent must give them a receipt.
Receipts should be kept in a safe place, they`re proof that rent has been paid.
If the tenant pays rent by cheque, the lessor/agent must give the tenant a receipt if they ask for one. If the tenant pays rent in some other way (like direct transfer from their bank account, or over the phone with a credit card) they won`t normally get a receipt for the money (but it will appear on their bank/credit card statements). However, the lessor/agent must keep a record of the rent the tenant pays, and the tenant can ask for a copy of the rent record at any time. If the tenant asks for a copy of the rent record, the lessor/agent must give it to them within 7 days.
The rent can`t be increased during a fixed term agreement unless a special term of the tenancy agreement states that the rent can be increased.
If the fixed term agreement allows for rent increases, the lessor/agent must give the tenant at least 1 month`s notice in writing before increasing the rent.
Sometimes, lessors will offer a tenant a rent discount if they pay the rent before the due date. This is OK. However, lessors can`t have an agreement with the tenant where they`ll get a discount if they don`t damage the place or don`t break the tenancy agreement. Also, a tenant cannot be charged a fee if the rent is late.
The rent can be increased at the end of a fixed term agreement, or at any time during a periodic agreement. If the rent is being increased during a periodic agreement, the lessor/agent must give the tenant at least 2 month`s notice in writing. The written notice can be a letter saying how much the rent will increase by, and the day when the tenant needs to start to pay the increased rent.
If the rent goes up, the lessor/agent might also ask the tenant to pay more rental bond. Notice of bond increase can only be given if it is at least 11 months since the last bond increase. One month`s notice about the bond increase must be given. The extra bond must be lodged with the RTA using either a Bond Lodgement (Form 2) or Part Payment of Rental Bond (Form 7).
If something serious goes wrong with the place (like a part of it is destroyed or becomes unfit to live in), or if some service becomes unavailable for the tenants use, the tenant can ask the lessor/agent for a rent decrease.
The tenant can agree with the lessor/agent about the rent decrease. If there is a dispute about a rent decrease the tenant must continue to pay the rent stated on the agreement until the dispute is resolved. Further Information