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Rent increase information for tenants and landlords

Landlords may increase a tenant’s rent if the premises are under rent control if:

  1. The landlord and tenant reach an agreement on the increase; or
  2. The landlord applies to the Rent Commissioner for a rent increase

When downloading and printing forms, please print on 8/12" x 14" paper or shrink it to fit the page to ensure that the whole application form is printed.

In the first case, when both parties agree to a rent increase, the landlord must file a Notice of Increase of Rent by Agreement in triplicate with the Rent Commissioner. A tenant that agrees to the rent increase must pay the increased amount for a minimum of six months. If not, the rent reverts to the original amount for any new tenant. A tenant cannot agree to a rent increase in their first six months of tenancy.

If a tenant does not agree to a landlord's proposal, the landlord must file an Application for an Increase of Rent on Existing Tenant with the Rent Commissioner for approval to increase the rent.

It is unlawful for a landlord to exercise any improper pressure on a tenant (i.e. a threat to serve a notice-to-quit) in order to obtain an agreement to a proposed increase of rent.

Existing tenants whose rent is being paid by Financial Assistance cannot agree to a rent increase and the landlord must submit an Application for an Increase of Rent on Existing Tenant

Applying to increase rent on existing tenants

When a landlord applies for a rent increase on existing tenants, the process follows these steps:

  1. After receiving an application for an increase of rent, the Rent Commissioner sends a copy of the application to the tenant for comments.
  2. The tenant responds with comments and an inspection of the property ensues.
  3. The Rent Commissioner makes a decision and issues a certificate. A copy of this certificate is sent to the landlord and the tenant, specifying the exact date the rent increase will take effect effect if a rent increase has been approved. If not, it confirms the existing rent.
  4. If neither the landlord nor tenant is satisfied with the rent assessed for the unit, either may make an application to have the terms of the initial certificate reviewed by the Rent Commissioner.
  5. This application for review is sent by the Rent Commissioner to the other party for comments, and then the Rent Commissioner reviews it again in consultation with the Rent Increases Advisory Panel.

If after the review, either party still feels aggrieved by the Rent Commissioner’s decision, an appeal may be made to the Magistrates' Court. The court will not interfere with the Rent Commissioner’s decision unless satisfied that the decision was manifestly unfair and unreasonable.

Rent increases before getting a new tenant

When downloading and printing forms, please print on 8/12" x 14" paper or shrink it to fit the page to ensure that the whole application form is printed.

If a unit is vacant and a landlord wishes to charge a prospective tenant a rent which is higher than the registered rent, the landlord must first make an PDF icon Application for an Increase of Rent Prior to Re-Letting Premises to New Tenant RC/7 to the Rent Commissioner for approval to increase the rent.

In this instance, neither the tenant vacating the premises nor the prospective tenant will be consulted regarding the landlord’s application.

Charging rent to new tenants

The maximum rent chargeable under the Act is the rent which was paid by the last tenant increased in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

When a landlord has a prospective tenant, the landlord must inform the tenant in writing of the rent charged to the last tenant.  

If an increase has taken place, the landlord must show the prospective tenant the Rent Commissioner’s Certificate or the Notice of Increase of Rent by Agreement, properly signed by the Rent Commissioner. Failure by the landlord to comply with this provision may render them liable to a fine of $1,000, or imprisonment for six months, or both.

When premises are to be re-let to a new tenant, the landlord cannot advertise or offer the premises for letting at a rent which is above the maximum chargeable under the Act. Contravention of this section may render the landlord liable to a fine of $1,000.

If a landlord has charged a tenant rent which is in excess of the maximum chargeable under the Act, he may recover from the landlord the excess so charged, in accordance with the provisions of Section 28 the Act.

Payments of "key money"

While it is lawful for a landlord to demand the payment of a half month’s rent (two weeks) by way of deposit, the payment of “key money” by a tenant is unlawful, and any such payment may be recovered from a landlord.

A landlord who charges more than a half month’s rent (two weeks) by way of deposit, renders themselves liable to a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for six months or both if he/she refuses to refund the tenant the overcharging.

“Key money” is the payment of any premium as a condition for the grant of a tenancy. Sometimes “key money” is obtained indirectly by a landlord—such as a landlord selling a tenant pieces of furniture at a price in excess of their value. In such a case, the excess is deemed to be “key money.”

A landlord who demands or receives “key money” renders themselves liable to a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for six months or both.

Residential units exempt from the Act

The following residential units are exempted from the Rent Increases (Domestic Premises) Control Act 1978:

  • Rental units that have an annual rental value higher than $22,800
  • Premises in which the tenant is an employee of the landlord and the unit forms part of the employment contract
  • Premises that are licensed as a tourist accommodation by the Department of Tourism
  • Premises are normally occupied by a landlord who wishes to let them during his temporary absence from Bermuda for less than one year
  • Boarding or lodging houses
  • An individual that enjoys a life tenancy

Forms and notices for landlords and tenants

These forms and notices help to ensure that rental processes are completed properly. You can download the forms to complete and return to the Consumer Affairs Office.

When downloading and printing forms, please print on 8/12" x 14" paper or shrink it to fit the page to ensure that the whole application form is printed.

Notice of Increase of Rent by Agreement RC/2 Form

Where a landlord and tenant mutually agree to a rent increase, a Notice of Increase of Rent by Agreement Form must be completed in triplicate and filed with the Director of Rent Commission.

Application for an Increase of Rent on Existing Tenant RC/8 Form

If a landlord wants to increase a rent on an existing tenancy, an Application for an Increase of Rent Form must be completed in duplicate and filed with the Director of Rent Commission.

Application for an Increase of Rent Prior to Re-Letting Premises to New Tenant RC/7

When a landlord wishes to increase a rent prior to re-letting a premise to a new tenant, an Application for Increase of Rent Prior to Re-Letting Premises must be completed and lodged with the Director of Rent Commission.

Application for a Review of the Director's Initial Rent Increase Certificate

Where a landlord or tenant is not happy with a rent increase assessment, either one may apply to the Director of Rent Commission for a review of the terms of the initial rent increase certificate. An Application for Review of the Director's Initial Certificate must be completed and filed with the Director for consideration.

Landlord Notice to Enter Rental Premises

The landlord, or any person authorized in writing, may at reasonable times of the day, on giving a minimum 24 hour notice in writing to the tenant, enter the premises for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair. Download and fill out this Notice of Intent to Enter the Premises form.

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