A tenant never welcomes increases in rent. And although many Wilmington 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. Renters may occasionally feel stifled and powerless as a result of competitive rental markets and a shortage of affordable housing.
Then what do tenants who are facing a rent rise have as options? Is your landlord required to follow certain rules? 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.
Do any restrictions exist regarding the amount a landlord may raise the rent?
In the majority of states, landlords are permitted to raise the rent at the end of a lease by any amount as long as they give the required notice. However, there are rent control laws in some states and towns that place restrictions on how frequently and how much a landlord can raise the rent. In California, for instance, a landlord may raise the rent by no more than 10 percent plus any local rent control adjustments. Also, proper notice must be given before the increased rent is due. Many other locations, including New York City, Oregon, Washington D.C., and parts of New Jersey, have some kind of rent control regulations.
What are the legal boundaries regarding raising the rent?
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. However, landlords are not allowed to increase the rent in a discriminatory or retaliatory way under federal fair housing laws. This means that they cannot increase the rent for a tenant based on their color, religion, gender, disability, or national origin, nor can they do so if you have made late payments.
What choices do tenants who will soon be paying more rent have? The law may not forbid rent hikes, but as a tenant, you do have some rights. To start, it’s crucial to review your lease or rental agreement to discover if there are any restrictions on rent increases. Occasionally, a lease will specify how much notice a landlord must provide for a rent increase and the maximum amount they can increase the rent by. 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 another smart practice; this topic is frequently covered here.
Occasionally, your landlord may be compelled to justify rent increases. It’s possible that the landlord won’t be able to lawfully raise the rent if they can’t provide a good justification for it, including property renovations or market value changes.
You might want to attempt negotiating with your landlord if your lease does not address rent increases. This could be offering to sign a longer lease in exchange for maintaining the present rent amount or recommending alternative payment choices if the increase is excessive. However, keep in mind that the landlord is not required to bargain 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 may be able to examine the matter, mediate a resolution, or provide legal aid.
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). 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.
In addition to these choices, some tenants are offended or upset and desire to take action to oppose the rent increase. Though such a reaction is normal, it is not advisable. 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. 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.
It’s critical to understand your options and rights as a tenant in the event of a rise in rent. Finding the appropriate course of action for your particular situation may also be helped by consulting a legal expert.
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.