'My rent was going to go up by $200, until I took these 5 steps to stop it.'

Affordable housing is a thing of the past. Every week there seems to be more and more evidence mounting that shows the ongoing nightmare for tenants in Australia. And as someone who moved in 2020 during the COVID lockdowns and again in 2023 when rental prices were at an all-time high, I've experienced both sides of it.

My housemates and I lived in a really big share house for three years before we decided it was time to go our separate ways. One wanted to move in with their partner. Another moved interstate, and that just left my best friend and I, who struggled for weeks before finding the perfect place.

But before that, my housemates and I had to learn the art of negotiating a rent increase. Somewhere into our second year, they wanted to lift the rent by $200 on our $1000 per week place (keep in mind this is four a four-bedroom house). As people in our young twenties, we couldn't afford to pay the new rent but knew we had to wise up if we wanted to stay where we were.

Watch: Shaynna Blaze tells us the item every rental needs. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

Thankfully for us, we were able to stay another two years with minimal rent increases. Our landlords were kind to us, but we definitely had to educate ourselves on negotiating. After all, It's not just the affordability of rental properties that has been difficult to grapple with, but also the fact rental vacancies are hitting record lows.


In September 2023, PopTrack reported that the amount of available properties had fallen to just 0.14 per cent points. In recent weeks, the data showed the rental vacancy rate has lifted to 1.12 per cent but rent is up by $60 a week in most states.

So, where does that leave us? In a bit of a s**t storm, clearly.

How to chat about a rent increase.

It's a tricky situation when your landlord has informed you that your rental is about to become more expensive. 

But Adrian Graczyk, from Graczyk Thompson Property in Brisbane, told Mamamia there are a few measures we can all take to avoid overpaying (or paying at market value) for a rental property. 

"It's a good start to know what is in your neighbourhood rent-wise," Graczyk explained. "You want to tackle that rent bump? Then you need to do your homework."

Graczyk said a good way to start getting wised up about the area is by looking at similar properties up for rent around your home. Knowing that information is invaluable for a chat with your landlord. 

"When you do bring it up, mix in a bit of charm with your facts," he continued. "It’s all about striking that balance – firm but fair. You and your landlord are on the same side, real estate shouldn’t be a battleground."

Here are five other tips tenants should keep in their back pockets in case their property gets a rent hike.

Re-read your leasing contract.

There might be something you missed or a key detail you didn't know could help you prevent a rental increase. 


"Give your leasing contract a good once-over, especially the sections regarding rent increases and notice periods," said Graczyk.

Real estate agent Alex Haddad, who is also the founder of Property Services Agency in Sydney, explained to Mamamia that there are some nifty tricks tenants can learn as a negotiation tactic for more affordable rent. 

"I attach a rental appraisal to a rent increase so the tenants are aware if it's at market value or not," Haddad said. "We also have to let them know they have the right to negotiate or counter an offer.

"Sometimes a tenant isn't good at doing that so I guide them and in short, I play devil's advocate by helping the tenant and landlord so they're both satisfied."

Keep a paper trail and take notes.

"Save all the emails or letters you send and receive," Graczyk explained to Mamamia. "They’re like breadcrumbs back to what was agreed upon."

Haddad agreed, adding that there are other steps a tenant can take to make sure a rental increase is negotiated down or at least fair. 

"Did you know paint and carpet need to be changed or updated every 10 years? You could point that out, especially if it's not in good condition, and use it to get a cheaper rent," said Haddad. "So have a look at the carpet and the paint and check if it's in good condition because you can negotiate your rent down with this on your side. 

"Another common issue tenants point out is the dishwasher causing issues, the shower leaking, or that the fire system is not updated (especially for free-standing houses)," he added. "Maybe the conversation would be, 'Could you replace the fly screens on the window and we will pay the extra rent,' or perhaps a tenant could ask for air conditioning to be added to a property."


Know your rights.

"Tenancy laws can be as twisty as a pretzel, so make sure you’re up to speed on what’s what," Graczyk said. "If you’re unsure about anything, reach out to the REA or local agents to find out more."

It could also be as simple as knowing you can push back on a rental crisis. 

That was the reality for Tara Watson when her leasing agent informed her that her rent was going up by $100 per week, meaning she’d be paying $600 every week to live in her one-bedroom apartment in the Sydney suburb of Erskineville. 

The price hike meant she was forced to deal with the possibility of having to move homes. 

Watson then turned to her sister Melissa Watson, a real estate agent, who gave her much-needed advice.

"She essentially told me to push back," she shared. "Because I can. She told me that a tenant doesn’t have to accept a rent increase the first time."

Because Watson had developed a friendly relationship with her landlord and leasing agent, she decided to be honest about her situation. 

"I thought I should tell them the truth and leave it in their hands," she said. "I told them, 'I am a single woman living alone and my salary will not allow me to continue living here with a $100 rent increase.


I told them I could only afford an extra $50 per week. To my surprise, they told me that was fine."

Think bigger. 

At the end of the day, we all want somewhere safe and warm to live. The sad reality is, that because of the cost-of-living crisis, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and pay a little extra to continue staying where you live. 

"Sometimes it's worth weighing up the hassle and cost of moving against just biting the bullet on the rent increase," Graczyk said. 

But for the most part, Haddad adds, no landlord wants a good tenant out of their property. So trust your good rental history and stand firm that you deserve a fair rent. 

"I do routine inspections regularly and I make sure the tenants are looking after the property," Haddad explained. "If they are looking after it, most of the time the landlord would definitely want to keep them."

"Even if mortgages go up, the landlord and I would still prefer a tenant who pays rent on time, is clean and respectful."

What can I send to my landlord so he doesn't raise my rent? 

To [Landlord/Property Manager], 

Thanks for sending over the rent proposal. I wanted to discuss the matter of raising the rent $[X] amount to $[X] amount. 

Firstly, we want to say how grateful we are for our living arrangements over the last [X] months. We have enjoyed our time here and have put in a lot of effort to maintain the condition of the property. 

As you may be aware, there has been an increase in the cost of living, and we are currently facing some financial constraints. After careful consideration, we would like to counter by offering $[X] amount extra per week.


We have researched the current rental market in the [City] area, and we have found several comparable properties with rents that are more in line with our budgets. While we value the convenience and comfort of living at [Property Address], we are finding it challenging to meet the current rental obligations.

In light of the market trends and my financial situation, I would like to propose a rent adjustment to [Proposed Rent Amount] per month, which I believe is a fair and reasonable figure considering the current circumstances. I have attached information about similar rental properties in the area to support the proposed rent adjustment.

I understand that any change in rent requires your careful consideration, and we are open to discussing this further to reach a resolution that works for both of us. If necessary, we are also willing to extend the lease term to provide additional assurance of my commitment to the property.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Feel free to contact me or my housemates [X and X] if you would like to discuss this over the phone. 

Warmest regards, [your name].

What tips do you have for those whose rent has gone up? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Getty.

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