Renters can ask Consumer Affairs Victoria to investigate and report on rent increases if they believe the increase is higher than the market range. This process is called a rent assessment or a rent increase investigation.
However, before requesting an assessment, renters should research the value of the property to negotiate with the rental provider. This will give you a better guide on whether the rent increase is within market range.
Residents of rooming houses or caravan or residential parks can also ask us to investigate and report on rent that they think is too high even if it hasn’t increased. This can be if services have been reduced or a rooming house resident has been asked to share their room with more people.
Renters can’t be forced to leave a property because they ask us for a rent assessment.
On this page:
Other pages have information about rent increases, rent increases in a site agreement and changing rent in a rooming house.
Challenging rent increases
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.
This is called a rent assessment, and it is a free service.
All renters can ask for a rent assessment, including caravan park residents and rooming house residents.
However, site tenants can only ask for a review if they have an agreement where rent can be increased by ‘non-fixed’ amounts, meaning the rental provider can choose how much to increase it by. They can’t ask for a review if their agreement allows rent to be increased by fixed amounts. Site tenants are people who live in a caravan park and own their own caravan or mobile home, and rent the site that caravan or home is on. 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 you were previously getting as 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 repairs inspection or rent assessment form to ask us for a rent assessment.
Or, you can use the written Notice of proposed rent increase to renter of rented premises from your rental provider. If you use this notice, fill in the 'Requesting an investigation of rent increase (no cost)' section at the bottom of the form. This asks if you want to apply for an excessive rent investigation.
Send the notice or form to:
The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria
GPO Box 123
Melbourne VIC 3001
or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 2. Property inspection
An inspector from Consumer Affairs Victoria may need to inspect the property and if so, will contact you to arrange a time to inspect the property.
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 the renter and the rental provider. The renter 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 the 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).