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Residential Rent Increases

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Can a Landlord Increase a Residential Tenant's Rent in a Non Rent Controlled Jurisdiction?

A landlord generally has the right to increase a tenants rent without limitation in a non rent controlled jurisdiction. A landlord must terminate the old lease agreement and create a new lease agreement to increase the rent. This is done by giving proper notice to the tenant that the current lease will be terminated and by giving the tenant the option to enter into a new lease agreement at the higher rent. 

How Much Notice Does a Landlord Need to Give a Residential Tenant to Increase the Rent?

The period of notice that is required depends on the type of lease agreement the landlord and tenant entered into: 

  • Tenancy for a term – If the landlord and tenant have a tenancy for a term, for example a one year lease, then the terms of the lease agreement will determine the rent. Both the landlord and the tenant must abide by the terms of the lease. The landlord must wait until the end of the fixed lease period before raising the rent. 
  • Periodic tenancy – If the landlord and tenant have a periodic tenancy, for example a month to month lease, then the landlord must give proper notice before increasing the rent.
    • Month to month – Most jurisdictions require 30 days notice to the tenant before the landlord can raise rent.
    • Week to week – Most jurisdictions require 7 days notice to the tenant before the landlord can raise rent.

Can a Landlord Increase a Residential Tenant’s Rent in a Rent Controlled Jurisdiction?

The answer to this question is: sometimes. If a tenant resides in a jurisdiction that has rent control, then the tenant’s rent can only be increased in accordance with the rent control regulations issued by the rent control board. The most common reasons for rent increases in such jurisdictions are: 

  • Annual guidelines – The rent control board issues an annual report which contains a rent increase guideline. The rent increase guideline is the maximum amount by which a landlord can increase the rent of a current tenant without approval from the rent control board.  The landlord must also give the tenant proper notice of the rent increase, usually 30 to 90 days, depending on the jurisdiction.
  • Capital improvements – When an owner makes an improvement to a building subject to rent regulation, the owner may be allowed to increase the rent based on the actual cost of the improvement. To be eligible for the rent increase:
    • The capital improvement must be a new improvement and not a repair to old equipment.
    • The owner must submit a capital improvement rent increase application to the rent control board.
    • No rent increase may be charged or accepted until the rent control board issues an order approving the rent increase.
  • Owner hardship – An owner may be entitled to a rent increase if the owner is not making a fair return on their investment under the maximum increase permitted by the rent regulation statutes. To be eligible for the rent increase:
    • The owner must submit an owner hardship application with the rent control board. 
    • No rent increase may be charged or accepted until the rent control board issues an order approving the rent increase.

Should I Contact an Attorney Regarding a Residential Rent Increase?

Landlord tenant law is very complex, varies by city, and is constantly undergoing changes. A real estate lawyer will be able to advise you of the exact rules your city has regarding rent increases and can protect your rights, whether you are an owner trying to increase a tenants rent or a tenant fighting an attempted rent increase.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 10-25-2013 03:23 PM PDT

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