Challenging rent increases or high rent

Skip listen and sharing tools

On this page:

Other pages have information about rent increases, rent increases in a site agreement and changing rent in a rooming house.

How to challenge a rent increase

Renters can ask Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) to investigate and report on rent increases if they believe the increase is higher than the market range.
This is called a rent assessment or a rent increase investigation. It is a free service.

Renters can’t be forced to leave a property because they ask us for a rent assessment.

If you are renting a property and you believe the new rent is higher than the market range, you should try to negotiate with your rental provider (landlord) or the person who runs your rooming house or caravan or residential park (the operator). If you can’t agree about the new rent amount, you can ask us to investigate and report on it. We will decide if the new rent amount is too high by working out the market rental value of the property.

Before you request a rent assessment

Renters should research the value of the property to negotiate with the rental provider. This will help you work out whether the rent increase is within market range.

Who can ask for a rent assessment?

All renters can ask for a rent assessment. This includes residents of rooming houses or caravan or residential parks who can also ask us to investigate and report on rent that they think is too high even if it hasn’t increased. For example, if services have been reduced or a rooming house resident has been asked to share their room with more people.

Site tenants

Site tenants (who rent a site for their caravan or mobile home) can only ask for a review if their agreement allows ‘non-fixed’ amount rent increases. That is, where the rental provider can choose how much to increase it by.

Site tenants can’t ask for a review if their agreement allows 'fixed amount' increases. Read more about rent increases for site tenants.

Challenging high rent 

You can only ask for a rent assessment where the rent has not increased but you still think it is too high if you are in one of the following situations.

  • The rental provider has reduced or removed services, facilities or other items that were previously part of the rental agreement. But they haven’t reduced the rent. 
  • You are a rooming house resident whose rent has been reduced because the operator has increased the number of people you’re sharing your room with. But you still think the rent is too high.

How to get a rent assessment 

You must ask for an assessment within 30 days of your rental provider giving you the written notice to tell you about the rent increase.

If you want a rent assessment, follow these steps.

Step 1: Ask us for an assessment 

Use the Request for rental assessment form to ask us for a rent assessment. 

Step 2. Rent assessment 

As part of the assessment, one of our case officers will contact you.

One of our inspectors may need to visit the property and if so, will contact you to arrange a time.

Once the inspector has investigated the increase, they will write a report on behalf of the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria. They will send copies to you and your rental provider. You can use this report to apply to VCAT.

Step 3: Apply to VCAT 

If the rent assessment says that the increase is too high, and your rental provider won’t agree to lower the rent, you can use the assessment to go to VCAT. VCAT can set a maximum rent. This maximum rent will usually be set for:

  • 12 months for private rental properties
  • six months for rooming houses, caravan parks and site agreements.

You must apply to VCAT for a hearing within 30 days of getting the rent assessment report.

Forms you might need

To ask for a rent assessment, use this form:

Sections of the Act 

If you want to know what the law says about challenging a rent increase, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Section 45 – Renter may complain to Director about excessive rent (rental agreement)
  • Section 102 – Resident may complain to Director about excessive rent (rooming house)
  • Section 153 – Resident may complain to Director about excessive rent or hiring charge (caravan park)
  • Section 206W – Site tenant may complain to Director about excessive rent (Part 4A park).