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What to Know When Your Landlord Raises the Rent

An Official Notice of a Port Aransas Rental IncreaseFor a tenant, rent increases are never a good thing. And while many Port Aransas 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 may occasionally feel stifled and powerless as a result of competitive rental markets and a shortage of affordable housing. 

So what choices do tenants who are facing a rent hike have? Are there regulations that your landlord must abide by? And what does the law say about rent increases? The first step to easily deal with any rent increase is to know the answers to these questions. 

Are there regulations on how much a landlord can increase the rent? 

Most states allow landlords to raise the rent at the conclusion of a lease by any amount as long as they give the required period of notice. The amount and frequency of rent hikes, however, are constrained by rent control laws in some cities and states. For instance, a landlord is only entitled to raise the rent by a maximum of 10% plus any local rent control adjustments in California. Also, proper notice must be given before the increased 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 does the law declare about rent increases? 

Rent increases are not currently governed by federal law. Many tenants might feel discouraged by it, especially if they reside in an area where rent is already prohibitively high. However, discriminatory or retaliatory rent increases are forbidden 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? Even if the law would not forbid rent increases, as a tenant you still have some rights. First and foremost, be sure there are no provisions about rent hikes in your lease or rental agreement. 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. Your landlord is required to abide by the provisions of the lease because it is a legally enforceable document. Understanding your state landlord/tenant laws is also recommended; this topic is frequently covered 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. 

You might want to attempt negotiating with your landlord if your lease does not address rent increases. 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. However, know that the landlord is under no obligation to reach an agreement with you. 

However, you could consider filing a complaint with your state or local housing agency if you believe your landlord’s rent increase violates the terms of your lease, state or local law, or other rules. They might be able to look into the matter, assist in mediating 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). Finding a roommate or subletting your apartment may be an excellent option to help you stay in your home if your landlord is willing to allow it. 

Some tenants may also feel offended or furious and want to take action to protest the rent rise if they have no other alternatives. Although such a response is understandable, it is not prudent. For instance, it is not advised to withhold rent out of resentment over a rent rise as this could result in eviction proceedings. The same goes for your obligation to keep the rental property tidy and in good working order. Before making any decisions, make sure to carefully explore your rights and options because breaching any of the terms of your lease may have negative effects. 

Knowing your options and rights as a tenant in the event of a rent rise is crucial. Searching for the right course of action for your unique circumstance may also be helped by consulting a legal advisor. 

If you’re looking to rent a home that’s managed professionally and fairly, check out what Real Property Management Shoreline 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.