For a tenant, increases in rent are in no way considered welcome. And although many Staunton property managers attempt to raise rents infrequently and equitably, some will raise rents astronomically with little to no notice, leaving you with few viable alternatives. Competitive rental markets and a scarcity of affordable housing have compounded the problem, causing renters to sometimes feel trapped and helpless.
So, what choices do tenants have when confronted with a rent increase? Are there regulations that your landlord must abide by? And what does the law state regarding rent increases? Possessing the answers to these questions is a necessary prerequisite for facing rent increases with ease.
Do any restrictions exist regarding the amount a landlord may raise the rent?
In the majority of states, landlords may increase the rent at the end of a lease by any amount and with adequate notice. 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 may raise the rent by no more than 10 percent 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?
There is no federal law that regulates rent increases at this time. 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 are not permitted to increase the rent for a tenant based solely on their race, religion, gender, disability, or national origin. They are also not permitted to increase the rent if you have made late payments.
What alternatives do tenants facing a rent rise have? You have certain rights as a renter, even if the law does not ban rent hikes. First, it is essential to review your rental agreement or lease to determine if there are provisions regarding rent hikes. There may be provisions in a lease that specify how much notice a landlord must give and the maximum rent increase that may be made. A lease is a legally binding contract, therefore your landlord is required to abide by the conditions. Understanding your state landlord-tenant laws is another smart practice; this topic is frequently covered here.
Your landlord may occasionally be asked to give a justification for increasing your rent. The landlord might not be able to lawfully raise the rent if they cannot provide a good justification for it, such as property renovations or market value changes.
If rent hikes aren’t covered under your agreement, you might want to attempt bargaining with your landlord. For instance, if the rent increase is too significant, you might offer to sign a longer lease in exchange for retaining the rent at the present level or suggest different payment plans. However, know that the landlord is under no obligation to reach an agreement with you.
On the other hand, you could try submitting a complaint to your state or local housing agency if you believe your landlord’s rent increase is against your lease terms state or local law, or other regulations. They could conduct an investigation, assist in negotiating a settlement, or offer legal support.
If the increase is legitimate, bargaining fails, and you cannot pay the higher rent, you may have to locate a new tenant or sublease the space (make sure to check your lease to ensure this is allowable). If your landlord is agreeable, finding a roommate or subletting your apartment may be a viable option for you to remain in your home.
In addition to these possibilities, some tenants feel wounded or outraged and choose to protest the rent increase by taking action. Although such a response is understandable, it is not prudent. For example, refusal to pay rent out of anger over rental increase is not advisable because it can lead to eviction procedures. Similarly, shirking your duty to keep the rental property clean and in excellent repair is likely to harm you. 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 case of a rent rise, you must be aware of your rights and alternatives 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.