An Australian retiree has been hit with a huge rent increase on her home, even though she kept the property in “spotless” condition and paid for improvements.
Victorian Anne-Marie Petrucco, 78, revealed her rent had increased by $98 a week, from $232 a week to $330.
Ms Petrucco lives in a two-bedroom house in Mitchell Park, on the outskirts of Ballarat, about 115km north-west of Melbourne.
“I am a 78-year-old retiree. I have been renting an apartment in my apartment for almost 3 years. I love it, safe etc.” – she wrote on Facebook last week.
78-year-old retiree Anne-Marie Petrucco revealed her rent is increasing by $98 a week (stock photo)
Last week, Ms. Petrucco posted on a local community Facebook page about a significant rent increase
“Starting this week, my rent is increasing by $98 a week. $196.00 for two weeks. I contacted all authorities, including state policy. All in vain.
Mrs Petrucco stated that she would limit her social life, limiting the number of people she drove and spending on Christmas gifts for her grandchildren due to financial pressures.
“I’m not complaining and by the Grace of God I know I will survive,” she said.
“To others in this situation: If you like me, you can’t find anything cheaper.
“Take one day at a time, have faith and limit everything. And you will pass. Good luck everyone’
Mrs Petrucco stated that she keeps her house and garden in “immaculate condition” and that she is “proud of where I live”.
She also said that in addition to the significant rent increase, she previously paid half of a $2,500 bill to install an air conditioner in the apartment.
“And now I also pay $10 a fortnight for the front security door. $385.00,” she said.
Ms Petrucco said she believed it was a “no-win situation”.
Ms Petrucco said she keeps her house and garden in “immaculate condition” and that she is “proud of where I live” (stock photo)
However, she managed to maintain a positive attitude towards life, claiming that her “faith” allowed her to survive.
“By the grace of God, I still feel blessed to have a roof over my head and some food to eat,” she said.
Ms Petrucco stated she had approached Centrelink but had “no more help than what I am receiving”.
“No matter what anyone says, a pension increase of essentially $200 a fortnight is huge. 3/4 of our pension,” she said.
For a single person, the pension is $1,096.70 per fortnight, which works out to about $28,514 per year.
For a couple, that works out to $826.70 per fortnight, or $21,494 per year.
Ms Petrucco’s post attracted the attention of hundreds of concerned residents in a local Facebook community group.
Many people sympathized with the pensioner’s situation and expressed outrage at the shocking rent increase.
I really feel sorry for you, poor woman. It’s unfair that at almost 80 years old and with such concerns, I can only wish you the best,” one person wrote.
Damn funny. What a hike. I am sorry to hear it. I wish you blessings,” added another.
“Real estate agents persuade owners to increase the rent because property managers get a larger commission! I saw it happen. They always call for pay rises,” said a third.
Another commenter placed blame on the federal government.
“Albenese (sic) said the cost of living would come down and no one would be left behind, what nonsense,” said one.
Others shared that they had heard similar stories of significant rent increases.
“I know an elderly man who is 82 years old and his private landlord raised the rent in his granny flat from $90 to $190 a week, and now the landlord has raised the rent to $500 a week,” reads one comment.
Ms Petrucco said she also discovered that her real estate agent was renting a three-bedroom house just a few doors away from her for the same price as her two-bedroom room.
“It doesn’t make sense,” she said.
In Victoria, there are no laws specifying how much a landlord can increase the rent (stock photo)
In Victoria, the rental company cannot increase the rent on a fixed-term contract unless the tenancy agreement (lease) states that it is okay to do so.
If the lease allows for an increase, the agreement must specify how the increase is calculated.
The rental provider must inform the tenant using a Notice of Rent Increase form, which must be submitted at least 60 days before the planned increase.
However, the law does not specify exactly how much the rental company can increase the rent.
Tenants can ask Consumer Affairs Victoria to investigate and report rent increases if they believe the increase is above the market range.
Over the last 12 months, Victorian tenants have lodged a record 5,400 complaints against rent increases, a 120% increase on the previous year.
The average price for renting a house in regional Victoria is $420 per week.