Landlord Wants Me to Move out or to Increase Rent Because "They Can Not Afford My Current Agreed Rent" - Is This Allowed in NSW?

So this email just shook my world out of nowhere and is really making me mad about the whole situation.

My fixed term contract ends at 19 July 2021, which I thought would allow me to feel safe and not to worry about rent increases or whatever for a while. We agreed on a fair market price that we were both happy with. So today, 17 May 2021, I got an email from a landlord saying they:

"can't sustain the initially agreed weekly rental price and we will have to return it to the owner and vacate the place unless you agree to one of the two options:"

  • You can continue rent the place with the same fixed term contract but with a 60% rental price increase, starting from next week
  • If you don't agree to the weekly rental price increase, unfortunately you will have to vacate the property as we need to find new tenants.

"Please let us know your thoughts and consider this as official 2 weeks notice to vacate the premises if you decide for option 2. (last day will fall 28.05.2021)"

I looked into my contract and there is a section that reads:

17.3 LANDLORD reserves the right to give the tenant a minimum of 14 day notice to vacate the property with no early termination charges.

Are there any NSW laws/help/support that can cover me or am I stuffed because I signed a contract and gave my rights away?

Thanks for reading…

Comments

    • +1 vote

      Thanks for updating us… hate to hear about all the headaches this would be causing you but it is always a nice read, especially when someone dodgy (landlord) is being stood up to.

    • -3 votes

      First you want to determine if you are a tenant or a lodger. Of course xCAT can determine if you are a tenant or not if there is a dispute

      If you are a tenant, you are protected under Tenancy Act. Stay until the end of your term if you wish

      If you are a lodger, things wi be different. Have a read here: basically "landlord" can give you a "reasonable" notice such as 7 days

      https://www.tenants.org.au/factsheet-14-boarders-and-lodgers

    • +4 votes

      Wow an actual ending update

    • +1 vote

      Good onya, glad you got good advice.

    •  

      What a roller-coaster of emotions! Good luck for the future OP

    • +1 vote

      Thanks for the update. Best of luck for a good resolution. Frankly I would dangle NCAT in front of them whilst pointing out that the Tenancy Union people have highlighted the contract is full of illegal clauses. Unfortunately not enough people are aware of the Tenancy Unions to double check their rights. Best of luck with the house hunt.

    •  

      Anytime I called NSW Fair Trading, their advice has always been useless. ANY person off the street would be able to advice and guide you better.

    •  

      Well done at dissecting the problem, figuring out what needs to be done, and doing it.

      You didn't take it lying down but fought for your rights. That's a position of strength.

      Give yourself a well earned pat on the back.

  • +1 vote

    Ozbargain could have a sub website called Oz current affairs.

  •  

    Out of interest which suburb is this?
    Trying to gauge where a 60% increase would make sense.

  •  

    How much are comparison properties at the moment compared? What do you may now? 60% seems unreasonable. Will they get that new sum if you move out?

  • +1 vote

    Sounds like a boarding house preparing for the return of international students..6 to a room style

    What is 60% in $$?

  •  

    Did the landlord's mortgage revert from interest only to principal+interest? That's an insane increase!

  •  

    Good job sorting it out

  •  

    curious to see what they reply with lol

  •  

    They recently had to issue us 90 days notice under the law in NSW, I believe updated due to corona.

    If I were you I would threaten an Ncat dispute.

    Not only is the notice illegal but that increase is illegal. There would be a mechanism in your lease or standard terms in the lease that outline the rent increase process.

    If they do not corporate file Ncat for an urgent injunction.

  • +1 vote

    Glad to see that curiosity won't be killing this Blue Cat!

  •  

    This needs to be pinned by mods, so we can know the outcome.

  •  

    Start preparing to move out when your fixed term ends, in the meantime, you can continue paying the previously agreed rent. 60% increase is outrageous, and very very unlikely any tribunal would agree with them.

    •  

      In this case, probably. Though my sister in law is currently trying to evict their tenants (fixed period finished), and the tribunal yesterday agreed to double the rent for the tenants to give them an incentive to move out.

  • -3 votes

    So the moral of this story is the dodgy landlord wrote an illegal contract full of clauses to intimidate a tenant into doing what they wanted regardless of the law. Tenant is intimidated and wants to avoid NCAT but wrote an email softly pretending to stand their ground and will no doubt get a reply from the landlord not budging and tenant will just move out in two weeks as landlord wants. Landlord has obviously played this game with weak tenants before, and he’s won again this time. Better luck to the next tenant I guess.

    •  

      how has he lost?

      Landlord will have to go to the Tribunal and lodge fees.

      (Tenant does not have too).

      Fixed agreements do end anyway - op can find a new property.

  • +1 vote

    Give the landlord a big (profanity) you from all of us. Glad it turned out well for you OP :)

  • +1 vote

    60% lol. Tell your real estate agent don't charge you for his divorce application fee.

  •  

    Write down lessons to take for renters: I'll start

    1) Leave the landlord before they randomly go berserk

  •  

    post your contract up

    •  

      Landlord tried to make it a lodging contract, so almost never applied anyway.

  • +26 votes

    OK another quick update.

    First things first, I am SCARED at the moment to post the suburb, the agency/landlord names, my contract or other private details because they have already established that they are an aggressive landlord ready to skin me alive and I do not want any more trouble than I have now. I will provide more details when:

    • My contract has ended and I have moved out OR I have been kicked out
    • And when my bond has been returned

    Today, I didn't receive an answer from the landlord yet and I didn't receive any communication from Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service, though, I think they meant for me to call them back, maybe a mistake on my end. I will try calling them tomorrow.

    But a bit more details, I am renting a studio apartment, with it's own tiny kitchen and an ensuite. I do not live with anyone else and I am in practice not a lodger, because, like the helpful lady said, if I am a lodger, I need to be living together with a (sub/head?-)tennant and/or they should be providing me meals. I live completely independently, probably no different from people renting 1 or 2 bedroom apartments/units.

    I have to admit, it was my mistake to be complacent and think that "lodger" and "renter" are synonyms and can be used interchangeably, so I didn't pay attention to it when signing… big WHOOOPS and a Certified Full Retard Award goes to me, with a big warning to anyone else who sees the word "lodger" in their contract - start questioning WTF you are signing! However, if I go to Tribunal, it is most likely I will have rights of a tennant, if they even go past all the illegal clauses in the contract.

    I signed this contract on April 2021, so if anyone believes that it is at all reasonable for the rent to increase 60% in about a month, I will have to disagree with you completely. If anyone knows which suburbs are growing 60% in price per month let me know, I am happy to invest my savings there :)

    Thanks for all the support and I will update again soon as I hurry to deal with other real life problems. It's one of those episodes where you are bored and live happily for months and then all possible bad things from all directions start coming at you at the same time.

    • +11 votes

      Mate, under no circumstances you should be feeling scared when renting from anyone. The LL, if he/she knows what is good for them, should not dare to enter the premise without your explicit permission. If you think it might be an option on their end, remember that you can always have a chat at a local police station about this situation and ask for them to take a note of it, plus give you an advice on how you should behave to assert your full rights.

      • +8 votes

        +1 above. If you, in any way, feel threatened, go to the police. Don't tell them you are going to the police, just go.
        Anyway, we all have your back here - definitely keep us updated.

    • +2 votes

      A contract just for three months? That's unusual.

      •  

        A contract just for three months? That's unusual.

        Why is that unusual?

        • +1 vote

          Landlords usually prefer longer contracts, so they don't have to deal with the hassle of searching for a tenant, so they don't risk having a period when nobody is paying rent.

          Longer contracts are also better for tenants, as they give them more stability. Nobody wants to be moving very frequently.

          The most typical contract is 12 months.

    • -10 votes

      First things first, I am SCARED at the moment to

      How old are you? For someone who is renting, you can't be scared at/of anything, period. Not even spiders or any other creepy crawlies…

    • +2 votes

      Let's avoid using the term r-tard, but dont beat yourself up - smarter people have made sillier mistakes. The contract was obviously designed to deceive you, so I'm sure you're not the first person who they've manipulated in this way.

      In addition to the advice that the tenants service has given you, I think the most powerful weapon you have in this situation is good, organised record-keeping. Keep a diary of all communication (mode of communication, date, time, what was said, who you spoke to, length of the call) related to this issue, save all emails, gather all rental doc you've received (lease, rent receipts, etc). Hopefully it's not required, but having this paper trail will be good in the event that you need to go to NCAT or, god forbid, the police. Google drive is a good option :)

      If you feel threatened or unsafe, go to the police, directly to the police (do not pass go, do not collect $200). No matter what they've put in the contract, remember that the landlord cannot show up without proper notice and legitimate reason. They also cannot evict you or change the locks without an order from NCAT. Again, if they attempt either of these things, go to the police.

      As much hassle as it is, do not be afraid to engage NCAT. It's designed to be accessible to regular people, and they will make it clear to the landlord in no uncertain terms what is acceptable under tenancy law and will protect your rights as a tenant.

  •  

    The landlord obviously wants you out. They know a 60% increase isn't going to stick but they want you to be the one to terminate the lease and go.

    Also, they've been as subtle as a sledgehammer about it.

    I've gotten rid of tenants numerous times. It's not difficult but this isn't the way to do it.

  • +4 votes

    Sounds like a scam tbh

    Let tenant in for cheap rent then threaten them if they don’t pay 60% more

    • +3 votes

      Agree that it's clearly a scam. That's why they have all the rediculess clauses about charging money if taken to tribunal, they are basically trying to bluff you into just paying the absurd rise they had always planned on doing.

  •  

    When did legal maximum of 10% rental hike change?

    • +1 vote

      No state in Australia has this law, you might be referring to New York which is rent controlled and very renter friendly.

      •  

        My mate was told he couldn’t pump the rent up on his investment property more than 10 percent every 6 months?? Maybe that’s old news now

  • +3 votes

    OP, we need an update on the situation. You still with us? :)

  • +10 votes

    OK I guess I got the good ending, but fun didn't stop so suddenly.

    So after the "nice" email I sent to them, they only got back to me on Monday evening, basically saying "they are very sorry for the inconvenience caused" and that the last email was "incorrectly addressed to the wrong person", even though they used my correct first name, my correct unit number and my correct address??? They also told me to delete the last email as it was not meant to be addressed to me and keeping it might be against the Australian Privacy Act (things that make you go hmmmmmm???????????….) My contract will remain unchanged and I can stay the agreed duration.

    Anyway, crisis averted for now, gonna stay my duration and move out. Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service has also wrote back to check up on me today, after I had forwarded to them the "nice" email I wrote for the landlord, saying the reply is clear and firm and all that is left is to take it to Tribunal if there are any more problems.

    I don't feel threatened by the landlrod/agency, it's just that I didn't want any more trouble RIGHT NOW. If this had happened in January, I would have went to Tribunal straight away without any worries. Also, like I said, I will upload my contract once I moved out and have successfully got my bond back to avoid any further dramas for now.


    Lessons learned, for anyone else going through something similar:

    • Do not contact Fair Trading - it was useless and a waste of time. You can try though…
    • Do not speculate or try to be a lawyer searching for answers - just contact your local Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service found at https://www.tenants.org.au/, explain the situation and forward them your contract and email communication with your landlord or agency. They are being paid by the government (a.k.a. your tax money!) to find loopholes that landlords/rental agencies try to accomplish, and I think I just helped them find a new target to take care of. They are helpful and calm and will explain your rights in regards to your specific contract and situation… where's NSW Fair Trading was "just follow the contract bro lmao"

    However, keep in mind, they can't legally guarantee you a 100% win at the Tribunal, and they also can't force you to write something to the landlord/agency, so it is up to you to make those choices, but they give really helpful tips on what to include, what not to include, which things are in your favor and which ones are in the landlord's favor.

    But, in the end, I would have been hopeless without them, so I am thankful that their service exists. I hope nobody has to deal with this kind of crap, but such is life.

    •  

      Glad to see it all ended well mate!

      Landlord claiming it was a wrongly sent email is BS big time, they just backed away and took their battle elsewhere, after they have noticed your firm stance (and possibly the TAAS in the CC?).
      As other people have pointed out, your LL is probably running an extortion scam, where he lures you into signing a bogus contract first for a low rate, and then suddenly changes his mind and tries to use loopholes planted in said contract to make you believe you have signed your rights away.

      •  

        (and possibly the TAAS in the CC?)

        Weirdly, the TAAS told me not to CC them in the original “nice” email to the landlord, but forward the email to them separately.
        I didn’t ask why because I didn’t want to be a smartass and they have been very helpful that day already.

        •  

          Maybe they cannot openly act as your representatives in front of the LL/REA, but can guide your actions behind the scenes?

          Anyway, all is well that ends well - be sure to find yourself something comfortable in a nice neighbourhood from July, and steer clear from offers which sound too good to be true - they normally are.

    •  

      basically saying "they are very sorry for the inconvenience caused" and that the last email was "incorrectly addressed to the wrong person", even though they used my correct first name, my correct unit number and my correct address??? They also told me to delete the last email as it was not meant to be addressed to me and keeping it might be against the Australian Privacy Act (things that make you go hmmmmmm???????????….) My contract will remain unchanged and I can stay the agreed duration.

      This is absolute bs… and any court would throw the book at them faster than they could shred their dodgy contracts if they pulled that excuse out.

      I actually reckon you'd have a good case to take your LL / REA to court for causing uneccesary stress or loss of income if you took time out of your work day to spend time calling TAAS / Fair Trading. That would be the absolute slap in the face back to those ass hats.