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Rents surge $500: 3 tips to deal with price hikes

The rent crisis around the country is expected to get worse.

A composite image of a for rent sign and apartment in Zetland to represent the rent crisis.
Aussie renters are doing it tough and prices are expected to rise even further. (Source: Getty)

Many Aussie renters are struggling to keep a roof over their heads as costs surge to a fresh high.

Increases of up to $500 per month across Australia’s capitals have piled the pressure on renters.

A 2023 Finder survey revealed around 83 per cent of renters thought rental controls should be introduced in some capital cities.

Nearly half of Aussie renters said they struggled to pay rent in April, according to Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker.

January CoreLogic data found rents had increased by an average of 10 per cent nationwide in the previous 12 months.

Finder money expert Richard Whitten said renters were often hurting just as much as homeowners in the wake of the 11th cash rate hike in 12 months.

“It’s an incredibly tough time for renters in many parts of the country,” Whitten said.

“We’ve heard stories of applicants offering hundreds of dollars more per week than the asking price just so they have somewhere to live – it’s so disheartening.”

What can I do to fight rising rents?

Whitten said despite landlords having the upper hand, there were still some tricks to help navigate rising costs.

“If you’re dealt a rental increase, start a conversation with your landlord or real estate agent about what is reasonable,” he said.

“If you've been renting in the same place for a while and you pay your rent on time, you might be in a stronger negotiating position than you think. Remember, a reliable, long-term tenant offers peace of mind to a landlord. You can lean on that when trying to sign a new lease.

“Slash all unnecessary expenses and do an emergency audit of all utilities to see where you can save money on things like energy bills and insurance.”

3 tips for renters to navigate out-of-control rents:

  • Know your rights: Just because landlords have the advantage right now doesn't mean you have to just accept whatever terms they offer. Knowing your rights can help you push back on an unlawful increase or an improper notice to vacate. Before accepting a price increase from your landlord, check the rules in your state or territory. How much notice does your landlord need to give you? Can the landlord just jack up the rent from next week? Have they put it in writing?

  • Don't be afraid to negotiate: A reliable, long-term tenant offers peace of mind to a landlord. And you can lean on that when trying to sign a new lease. Check what the rent is on comparable rental properties in your area before agreeing to an increase. This way, you have a better sense of what's reasonable. While you might not be able to avoid a rent increase completely, you might be able to negotiate down to a smaller one.

  • Put your best foot forward: If you're looking for a new place to rent in a crowded market, it helps to make a good impression. You could create a renter's resume or write a cover letter to go with your application, to put a personal face to your application and help stand out from the pack. Getting good references from former landlords or agents can also help.

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