When Should a Landlord be Raising the Rent

Landlords are entitled with the rights for raising the rent but that cannot be done at random or at one’s whim.

Tenants must also be aware of the statutes that govern the revision of rent or hiking of the rent.

Rent Increases in Cities

Cities, particularly metropolitan areas, have strict rent control policies that dictate the landlord to raise rent in accordance to the laid down practices.

These are legal statutes and no landlord can afford to not abide by the same.

However, things are a little different in places, towns or districts where there is no rent control statute.

Frequency of Raising Rent

Typically, a landlord can raise the rent at the end of the contract or term of the rental agreement.

If a tenant is on a month to month contract then the landlord can increase the rent at the end of a specific month.

If there is a lease, for instance of eleven months or of three years, then the landlord can raise the rent at the end of the term of lease agreement which can also be referred to as the time of renewal.

In either case, there has to be a written notice of raising the rent.

The written notice should be a formal letter sent over using certified mail so that there is a proper audit trail to establish that the notice was indeed sent and with the due notice period. In most states, the minimum notice period that a landlord must provide a tenant is thirty days.

Thus, if a landlord has to raise the rent with effect from end of September, the notice must have reached or be delivered to the tenant by the end of August.

This is an imperative statute.

Limits to Raising Rent

Raising the rent dramatically is also something that a landlord cannot do.

There has to be some congruence to the increase vis-à-vis the existing rent amount.

For instance, a 5% to 10% increase in rent is regarded as very normal.

Unless specific circumstances demand so, raising the rent beyond 10% is not considered just and can be challenged legally.

In addition to all the aforementioned statutes, a landlord cannot raise the rent for unfair reasons.

For instance, if a tenant has filed a lawsuit for valid reasons and has won then the landlord can try and penalize the tenant by raising the rent.

Also, if a new tenant offers a much higher rent, that shouldn’t lead to increasing the rent for an existing tenant to an unjust figure.

Posted on Mar 31, 2014


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