How to combat rental price hikes

By Ros Burton (Principal – The Real Estate People)

Renting a home is a convenient and flexible option for many people, but as we’ve seen across Australia in the past two years, rental price hikes can pose a significant challenge. 

And it may well continue into 2024 before we see any sort of reprieve. 

If you’re a renter facing the prospect of increased rental costs, it’s important to be proactive and explore strategies to manage these changes. 

Here are some tips to help you combat rental price hikes and afford increases. 

1. Understand the market  

Before signing a lease or renegotiating your rent, it’s crucial to understand the current rental market in your area. 

Research the average rental prices for similar properties in your neighbourhood to gain insight into whether a proposed rent increase is reasonable. 

You may not agree with the increase, but it will give you important background as to why your rent went up and may give you negotiating room if you wish to contest the increase. 

2. Negotiate with your landlord 

Open communication with your landlord is key (either directly or through your property manager). 

If you receive a rent increase notice, consider scheduling a meeting to discuss the proposed hike.  

Present your case calmly and rationally, highlighting your history as a reliable tenant and any maintenance or improvements you’ve made to the property. 

In the current climate it may not work unfortunately, but rest assured most landlords are reasonable people and will consider your situation and how you will be affected. 

3. Consider a longer lease 

Some landlords may be open to keeping your rent stable in exchange for a longer lease commitment. 

By offering to sign a longer lease, such as a two-year term instead of a one-year term, you may be able to negotiate a more favourable rental increase (or even maintain your current rate). 

4. Explore additional amenities 

If your landlord is unable to budge on the rental price, see if there are opportunities to negotiate for additional amenities or services, such as including utilities in the rent, a gardener, a new air conditioner or new stove. You never know. 

5. Look for roommates 

Consider finding a roommate to share the rental expenses. 

This can help offset the impact of a rent increase and make the cost more manageable but be sure to review your lease and consult your landlord (or property manager) before bringing in a new roommate. 

6. Find a new rental 

While moving is a hassle, it may be worth exploring other rental options in your area (or look for a different suburb). 

You might find a comparable property at a more reasonable price, especially if the current rental market is competitive. 

7. Evaluate your budget 

Take a close look at your budget and identify areas where you can cut back to accommodate a rent increase – this might involve reducing discretionary spending, renegotiating bills, or finding additional sources of income. 

Tightening your belt, even temporarily, will take away a lot of anguish of a rent hike and will help drive productive spending habits going forward. 

8. Seek financial assistance 

Look into local or national programs that offer financial assistance to renters facing affordability challenges. 

These programs may provide subsidies, financial advice, or other forms of support to help bridge the gap between your income and the increased rent. 

9. Communicate early 

Lastly, if you anticipate difficulty in affording a rent increase, communicate with your landlord (or property manager) as early as possible. 

Being proactive and transparent about your concerns can open up opportunities for finding mutually beneficial solutions. 

By employing these tips and being proactive in your approach, you can better equip yourself to combat rental price hikes and navigate the challenges of increasing rental costs. 

Remember, each situation is unique, and it’s essential to consider your specific circumstances and local regulations when addressing rental price hikes. 

And, as always, if you need some expert advice or simply want to discuss your situation then be sure to give us a call on 4633 8899. 

We’re here to help.