What are my obligations when raising rents?

Question from Keryn Pow updated on 11th June 2008:

Hi, I have just purchased a house in two flats. One flat is already tenanted I am just wanting to know my obligations to this tenant as I will be requesting a rent increase. Also as the back flat is currently empty we will be doing some maintenance then showing to maybe tenants do I need to inform the front tenant when i will be on the property doing that?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

If the current tenant has a periodic tenancy, then they must be given a minimum of 60 days’ notice in writing of a rent increase. As this notice must be in writing, you will also need to allow service times. This means that if you hand the notice to the tenant it takes effect straight away, if you put it in the tenant’s letter box you must add two working days to the notice period, and if you post it to the tenant you must add four working days. Rent cannot be increased within 180 days (6 months) of either the start of the tenancy or the last rent increase. Landlords must give a tenant notice if they wish to enter the tenant’s premises, ie, their flat. Notice is not required if a landlord is simply coming on to the property. However, a landlord does have to respect the tenant’s right to peace, comfort and privacy, so it may be a good idea to let your tenant know when you expect to be on the property and what you plan to be doing in order to minimise any impact the maintenance may have on the tenant.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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