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What to Know When Your Landlord Raises the Rent

An Official Notice of a La Connor Rental IncreaseAs a tenant, increases in rent are not welcome at all. And although many Apollo Beach property managers endeavor to raise rent occasionally and reasonably, others will do so suddenly and dramatically, leaving you with few viable options. Competitive rental markets and a shortage of affordable housing have contributed to the problem, causing renters to sometimes feel trapped and helpless. 

So what choices do tenants who are facing a rent hike have? Are there regulations that your landlord must abide by? Moreover, what does the law say regarding rent increases? The first step in handling any rent rise with comfort is to know the answers to these questions. 

Is there a limit to how much a landlord can raise the rent? 

In the majority of states, landlords can increase the rent by any amount at the completion of a lease, so long as they provide the required notice. However, several cities and states have rent control laws that regulate the amount and frequency of rent increases required by landlords. For instance, a landlord is only entitled to raise the rent by a maximum of 10% plus any local rent control adjustments in California. In addition, they must offer a sufficient warning before the increased rent payment date. Rent control regulations exist in several other places, including New York City, Oregon, Washington D.C., and parts of New Jersey. 

How does the law address rent increases? 

Rent increases are not currently governed by federal law. Many tenants may regard this as unfortunate news, especially if they live in an already expensive housing market. Yet, discriminatory or retaliatory rent increases are prohibited under federal fair housing laws. This means that they cannot increase the rent for a tenant based on their race, disability, religion, gender, or national origin, nor can they boost the rent if you have been late with your payments. 

What options are available to tenants facing a rent increase? Although the law may not restrict rent hikes, tenants have certain rights. It’s crucial to first review your lease or rental agreement to see whether there are any restrictions on rent increases. It’s not uncommon for a lease to include the maximum rent increase that a landlord may impose as well as the length of advance notice required. Your landlord is required to abide by the conditions of the lease contract because it is a legally binding agreement. In addition, it is recommended that you know your state landlord/tenant laws, as this topic is regularly discussed here. 

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

If your lease is silent on the subject of 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. But keep in mind that there is no obligation on the part of the landlord to reach a compromise with you. 

Another option, if you believe your rent increase is a violation of state or local law, the lease terms, or other stipulations, you can try filing a grievance with the local housing agency or the state. They might be in a position to conduct an investigation, assist in negotiating a settlement, or offer legal support. 

If the increase is lawful, negotiation fails, and you cannot pay the higher rent, you may have to locate a new rental or sublease the space (make sure to check your lease to ensure this is allowable). If your landlord is amenable, finding a roommate or subleasing your apartment may be a viable option for you to remain in your home. 

Some tenants may also feel offended or furious and want to take action to protest the rent rise if they have no other alternatives. While such a response is logical, it would be unwise to take it. It’s also not a good idea, for instance, to withhold rent out of resentment over a rent increase because that could result in eviction proceedings. In a similar vein, neglecting your obligation to keep the rental property tidy and in good working order won’t help anyone. 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. 

It is important to understand your options and rights in the event of a rent hike. To determine the appropriate course of action for your unique circumstance, it may also be good to seek legal counsel. 


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

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