Landlords Can Go Jump in the Lake

Honestly, why do landlords even exist in modern times. Didn’t we leave medieval times behind us a while back? This is a rant on how my landlords illegally increased my rent.

Above are the three types of potential leases you can have in NSW at this time of writing. I have been on a fixed term agreement of one year until recently when the lease expired. As a result I entered a periodic agreement. My landlords who reign from above, decided to bump the rent up 10%.

They sent through a revised lease with the new weekly rent value and I thought, that isn’t right. Sure enough it’s illegal. As in against-the-law-illegal.

So I queried them anyway, where is my 60-day notice period? They sent me the above screenshot back to me pointing out that the laws had changed in 2020. Right. Two issues with that.

Mistake 1

They assumed I’m still on a “fixed term of less than 2 years that set out a rent increase”. I’m not – they let it lapse. And even if I was, the expired lease did not “set out a rent increase”. They’ve read the law wrong. I hate legislation but I also hate landlords who can’t do their “job” properly.

The relevant section of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 was Section 41.

Section 41(1)
The rent payable under a residential tenancy agreement may be increased only if:
(a) the tenant is given a written notice by the landlord or the landlord’s agent specifying the increased rent and the day from which it is payable, and
(b) the notice is given at least 60 days before the increased rent is payable.

Section 41(2)
Notice must be given by the landlord or the landlord’s agent of a rent increase proposed during the term of a residential tenancy agreement and of a rent increase under a proposed residential tenancy agreement between a landlord and one or more of the landlord’s existing tenants.

Section 41(5)
Notice of a rent increase must be given by a landlord or landlord’s agent in accordance with this section even if details of the rent increase are set out in the residential tenancy agreement.

Mistake 2

If they had bothered to look into the article they sent me, they would have noticed that their expired lease does not have a section that “sets out the increased amount or how the increase will be calculated.”

Regardless, as my lease had expired I am now on a continuing (periodic) agreement until they work out how to paste the correct dates into the lease for me to sign. Why did they let it lapse? Not malice, most likely sheer incompetence.

Realistically do I even really have an option here? Can I risk being kicked out over an extra $8 a week over the next 12 months on top of the 10% increase? No, I can’t. I’m going to pay the extra even though they are the ones doing the illegal rent increase. Why? Because without any income I am simply not in a position to move. Why do I have no income?

Thanks to our failings in social security, i.e. Centrelink I am just forever waiting for them to review my claim. No worries, take your time. I don’t have it as bad as some others thanks to rainy day funds. But how the hell do they expect someone without savings get by with no income. You’re a joke Australia. More on this in a future post. 🤬

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