For a tenant, rent increases are in no way considered welcome. And while many La Connor property managers aim to raise rates only occasionally and fairly, others will raise rents to unsustainable levels with little to no warning, leaving you with few alternatives. Renters sometimes experience a sense of being trapped or helpless as a result of competitive rental markets and a shortage of affordable housing.
So, what choices do tenants have when confronted with a rent increase? Do any guidelines exist that your landlord must abide by? How about the law’s position on rent increases? The first step to easily deal with any rent increase is to know the answers to these questions.
Do any restrictions exist regarding the amount a landlord may raise the rent?
Landlords can raise the rent at the end of a lease by any amount as long as they give the required notice, in most states. The amount and frequency of rent hikes, however, are constrained by rent control laws in some cities and states. In California, for instance, a landlord is only authorized to raise the rent by a maximum of 10% plus any local rent control adjustments. Additionally, they have to give adequate warning before the additional rent is due. Rent control regulations exist in several other places, including New York City, Oregon, Washington D.C., and parts of New Jersey.
What is the legal position on rent increases?
The federal government currently has no laws in place to control rent hikes. For many tenants, especially those who reside in areas where housing is already highly expensive, this may feel like bad news. Nevertheless, federal fair housing laws bar landlords from discriminatory or retaliatory rent hikes. This means that they cannot increase the rent based on a tenant’s religion, gender, race, disability, or national origin, nor may they increase the rent because of late payments.
What choices do tenants who are facing a rent rise have? The law may not forbid rent hikes, but as a tenant, you do have some rights. First, check your lease or rental agreement to discover if there are any provisions regarding rent hikes. In some cases, a lease will include the minimum amount of notice required by a landlord for a rent increase as well as the maximum amount that can be raised. A lease is a legally binding contract, therefore your landlord is required to abide by the conditions. It is also advisable to be familiar with your state landlord/tenant laws, as this topic is frequently discussed here.
Occasionally, your landlord may be compelled to justify rent increases. It’s possible that the landlord won’t be able to lawfully raise the rent if they can’t provide a good justification for it, including property renovations or market value changes.
If your lease does not include a provision for rent increases, you may wish to negotiate with your landlord. This could be offering to sign a longer lease in exchange for maintaining the present rent amount or recommending alternative payment choices if the increase is excessive. However, keep in mind that the landlord is not required to bargain with you.
On the other hand, you could attempt to file a complaint with your state or local housing agency if you believe your landlord’s rent increase violates state or local law, your lease terms, or similar restrictions. They could conduct an investigation, assist in negotiating a settlement, or offer legal support.
Your alternatives may include looking for a new rental or subletting the space if the increase is lawful, negotiation doesn’t work, and you can’t pay the additional rent (make sure to check your lease to ensure this is allowable). You may be able to stay in your home with the help of a roommate or a subtenant if your landlord is amenable to it.
In addition to these possibilities, some tenants feel wounded or outraged and choose to protest the rent increase by taking action. Such a response is natural, but it is not the best course of action. For instance, it is not advised to refuse to pay rent because you are upset about a rent increase. After all, doing so may result in eviction proceedings. The same goes for your obligation to keep the rental property tidy and in good working order. Remember that violating any of the terms of your lease may have repercussions, so make sure you fully investigate your rights and alternatives before making any decisions.
In the event of a rent rise, it is critical to understand your rights and options as a tenant. Searching for the right course of action for your unique circumstance may also be helped by consulting a legal advisor.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.