Rent bidding

A rental property must be advertised at a fixed price - failing to do so is an offence. The property manager/owner does not have to display the price on a ‘for rent’ sign at the property, but any other advertisement must include a fixed price. 

A property manager/owner must also not: 

  • advertise a property with a rent range (e.g. between $420-$460 a week) 

  • put a property up for rent auction 

  • proactively tell rental applicants to offer over the advertised rental price and encourage them to outbid each other.  

A prospective tenant can proactively offer more than the advertised rental amount and the property manager/owner may accept their offer.  

A prospective tenant can also offer to pay rent in advance and the property manager/owner can accept this. The maximum rent in advance a property manager/owner can ask for from a tenant is two weeks for a periodic agreement, or one month for a fixed-term agreement.  

We recommend applicants only offer rent in advance if they can commit to staying in the rental property for the full period they've paid for, to avoid any issues with rent recovery at the end of the tenancy. 

A customer who believes that rent bidding has taken place can contact the RTA for advice and request an investigation

More information about rent bidding and how to navigate a tight rental market can be found in our webinar Your questions answered: searching for a rental, rent and ending a tenancy.

Scenarios

Scenario 1

Scenario: A property has been advertised online with no rental price. Sam wants to apply for the property so rings the agent to ask how much it costs a week to rent. He is told there is no fixed price for the rent and he should put in his best offer. Sam puts in an offer and secures the property.  

Analysis: The property manager has acted illegally and encouraged rent bidding by not advertising the property at a fixed price. 

Scenario 2

Scenario: Ali proactively puts in an offer for a rental property, offering to pay two months' rent in advance and an extra $15 a week over the rental asking price. The property manager accepts her offer and she secures the rental property.  

Analysis: No one has acted illegally. The property manager has not encouraged rent bidding and Ali is allowed to offer to pay over the asking price for the rental and to pay rent in advance.  

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