An unexpected rent increase can break the bank for someone living on a fixed income. Yet in today’s economy, a rent increase can be as commonplace an occurrence as the rising costs of gasoline and electricity.
If most utilities such as heating and electricity are included in your monthly rent, the rising costs of those necessities can lead to an increase. New development and community improvements which make your neighborhood a safer or more cosmopolitan or attractive place to live, and thus more marketable, can also bring about a rise in the amount you are required to pay each month.
The supply of rental homes is shrinking, and that continues to push rent prices higher, particularly on the lower end of the market.
Whether you rent your apartment, condominium or single home from a company or a private landlord, it is critical to have a solid understanding of your rights as a renter. Renters should always be familiar with all the terms and conditions of their leases, the rules and regulations for the community in which they live, the grounds for eviction from their rented homes, and the responsibilities of both themselves and their landlords for repairs, grounds and dwelling maintenance and pest control. Of course, renters should also be aware of the guidelines for when and how a landlord or rental company can impose a rent increase.
The legality of the cost of your rent rising depends on a variety of variables. Laws and regulations governing landlord and tenant rights vary from state to state. In addition, there are other variables governing rent increase including whether or not a property is rent controlled and specific laws pertaining to disabled renters. Renters should familiarize themselves with state and country laws to understand whether, when and how they could become subject to a rent increase.
Regardless of location or the type of property one is renting, one commonality is that if rent is specified in a lease, a rent increase should generally not be imposed during the time period specified in that lease. In many or even most cases, someone faced with a mid-lease rent increase would have grounds for legal argument. The time for discussions and agreements regarding a rent increase is generally during lease renewal, when the renter will have the right to find alternate living arrangements without financial obligation to the landlord or rental company.
Just as it is important for renters to understand their rights regarding a rent increase and the other intricacies of landlord/tenant relationships, landlords must understand their own rights and obligations. In the interest of fairness and to avoid possible legal complications, a landlord should always notify a tenant of any other changes to a rental agreement in writing. In the case of rise in the cost of your rent, this notification should occur well in advance of when the change will take place.