Some property managers are being intimidated by landlords into increasing rents immediately, instead of giving tenants the legally required notice, according to an award-winning industry professional in NSW.
Sandra McGee, from Starr Partners, told the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) about some of the mistakes property managers make with the process of increasing rent.
“Some common mistakes are signing a new agreement with the tenant whereby the new rent amount starts from the day of the agreement, without giving the required 60 days’ notice," she said.
“Ringing the tenant and informing them of the new rent amount and the date for the increase to commence (usually from the next rent period). Or sending a letter, but not providing 60 days’ notice before the increase.”
But Ms McGee believes sometimes they’re not mistakes.
“It may be that the landlord wants the increase immediately, and we are too afraid to tell them 'no - 60 days’ written notice is required'," she said.
“Or we [the agent] may have failed to send the notice of increase when we were asked to by the landlord, and are afraid to admit our error. Or, perhaps the property was sold and the new landlord wanted a rent increase and a new lease in their name. For whatever reason, these errors are significant.”
If the tenant disputes the matter to the NSW Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT), Ms McGee stresses the tribunal will ask for proof that adequate time was given to the tenant.
“[The tribunal] could order that the landlord has to repay the tenant all rent that has been incorrectly collected," she said.
“If I was the landlord, I know that if I was ordered to pay the tenant money because my agent had failed to correctly increase the rent, I would be making a claim against the agent for compensation."