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What to Know When Your Landlord Raises the Rent

An Official Notice of a Garland Rental IncreaseIn no way does a tenant welcome rent increases. Additionally, while many Garland property managers work to increase rent infrequently and fairly, other managers will do it abruptly and dramatically, leaving you with few viable options. Renters sometimes experience a sense of being trapped or helpless as a result of competitive rental markets and a shortage of affordable housing. 

Then what do tenants who are facing a rent rise have as options? Is your landlord required to abide by any rules? What does the law say about rent increases? Having the answers to these questions is a good starting point for easily addressing any rent increase. 

Is there a limit to how much a landlord can 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. Nonetheless, certain towns and states have enacted rent control laws that restrict the amount and frequency of rent increases by landlords. For instance, a landlord in California is only permitted to raise the rent by a maximum of 10% plus any local rent control adjustments. In addition, they must offer sufficient warning before the increased rent payment date. In several other areas, including New York City, Oregon, Washington D.C., and parts of New Jersey, there are some rent control regulations

How does the law address rent increases? 

The federal government currently has no laws in place to control rent hikes. Many tenants may regard this as unfortunate news, especially if they live in an already expensive housing market. However, federal fair housing laws bar landlords from discriminatory or retaliatory rent increases. 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 and foremost, be sure there are no provisions about rent hikes in your lease or rental agreement. Sometimes, a lease will include the amount of notice required for a rent increase and the maximum increase allowed. Your landlord must comply with the conditions of the lease because it is a legally binding contract. It is also advisable to be familiar with your state landlord/tenant laws, as this topic is frequently discussed here. 

In some instances, your landlord may be compelled to provide an explanation for a rent increase. If the landlord cannot provide a legitimate reason for the increase, such as property renovations or market value changes, they may not be legally permitted to increase the rent. 

If your lease does not include a provision for rent increases, you may wish to negotiate with your landlord. This could include proposing to sign a longer lease in exchange for maintaining the present rent amount or recommending alternate payment choices if the increase is excessive. Yet, remember that the landlord is not required to come to an agreement with you. 

Alternatively, you could 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 other laws. They may be able to examine the problem, assist in negotiating a settlement, or provide legal counsel. 

You could have to look for a new rental or sublet the space if the rent is increasing legally, negotiation doesn’t work, and you can’t afford it (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 choices, some tenants are offended or upset and desire to take action to oppose the rent increase. Though a reaction like that is understandable, it is not a good idea. For instance, it is not advised to withhold rent due to anger over a rent rise, as this can result in eviction proceedings. Similarly, refusing to take responsibility to keep the rental property clean and in excellent repair is likely to be detrimental. It is essential to keep in mind that violating the conditions of your lease can have repercussions, so be careful to investigate your legal rights and available alternatives before making any decisions. 

In the event of a rent rise, it is critical to understand your rights and options as a tenant. Finding the appropriate course of action for your particular situation may also be aided by consulting a legal expert. 

If you’re looking to rent a home that’s managed professionally and fairly, check out what Real Property Management Focus has to offer. You can call our office or view our listings online.

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.

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