Can my Landlord Raise my Rent?

Can my Landlord Raise my Rent?
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Last updated: February 2006

Generally, there is no limit to how much your landlord can raise your rent. But, there are rules about what kind of notice your landlord must give you before raising the rent. The rules are different for different kinds of leases. This article will explain what to do if you have a written lease, an oral lease, or if you live in a mobile home park. It also explains when a landlord cannot raise your rent.

What kind of lease do I have? 

A lease is a binding contract, which means that you and the landlord both have to do whatever you agreed to do in the lease. The lease can be written or oral. An oral lease is usually month-to-month, which means that you or the landlord can end the lease by giving 30 days notice.

If you had a written lease, and then stayed on without signing a new lease, you probably have an oral month-to-month lease now.

Written Leases
Oral Leases
Mobile Home Parks

Written Leases

Is there a limit to how much my rent can be raised?

During the lease term, your landlord cannot raise your rent unless your lease allows him to do so. But, when your lease ends, there is usually no limit on how much a landlord can raise your rent. There are no laws that limit rent increases. But, check your current lease to see if it says anything about how much the rent can be raised, or what notice the landlord must give before raising your rent. Your landlord must follow what the lease says.

What if my lease doesn’t say anything about rent increases?

Then your landlord can raise your rent as much as he or she wants when the lease ends. If you want to renew your lease, you should talk to your landlord. Your landlord also does not have to give you any advance notice that the rent is going up under the new lease. 

When should I talk to my landlord about getting a new lease?

Usually the landlord will give you a new written lease to replace the old expiring lease. This new lease, with a new rent amount, is written notice that the landlord is raising the rent. If you sign the new lease you are agreeing to the increase. If you do not sign the new lease then you have no agreement to live there once the old lease expires and the landlord can evict you.

If you want to stay in the apartment it is best to talk to your landlord about renewing the lease long before the lease ends. If your landlord does not give you a new lease a few months before your lease is up, then you should talk to him or her. If you wait too long there is a risk that you won’t have time to move when you learn that the landlord is not renewing your lease or wants to raise your rent.

What if the new rent is too high?

If your landlord wants to raise your rent by a large amount, then you should talk to him or her. Ask if he or she is willing to lower the new amount. It never hurts to ask! See if you can both agree on a new amount that will allow you to stay in the apartment.

Oral Leases

Is there a limit to how much my rent can be raised?

No. There are no laws that limit the amount of rent increases. But, there are rules about how much time your landlord must give you before the rent increase.

How much notice does my landlord have to give before raising my rent?

If you have an oral month to month lease, you must get a 30-day written notice of a rent increase before the landlord can start charging the new amount.

First your landlord must serve you with a “Notice to Quit.” This ends the old lease agreement. Then your landlord must serve you with another notice offering a new agreement at an increased rent. Your landlord can not raise your rent if he hasn’t given you a Notice to Quit! If this happens, then the old agreement is still in effect and you should continue to pay the old rent amount.

If your landlord continues to accept the old rent amount after serving you with a Notice to Quit, then the effective date of a rent increase creates a new agreement to continue paying the old amount.

Mobile Home Parks

Is there a limit on how much my rent can be raised?

No. There are no laws the limit the amount of rent increases in mobile home parks.

How much notice does my landlord need to give before raising my rent?

If you live in a mobile home park then your landlord has to give you written notice of any rent increase. You must get the notice 60 days before the increase, and you must get it before the old lease ends. The new lease must be for at least one year and it must be in writing. 

Raising Rent for Discriminatory or Retaliatory Reasons

Can my landlord raise my rent because I complained about housing code violations or asked the landlord to make repairs?

No. Your landlord cannot raise your rent or retaliate in any other way because you complained about a building, housing, or health code violation. Your landlord also cannot raise your rent because you asked him to make repairs, joined a tenants' organization, or because you exercised any right or remedy provided by law. If you think that your rent was increased because you took any of these actions, you should talk to a lawyer. Search the "Helpful Organizations" section below to find free legal help.

Can my landlord raise my rent based on discrimination?

No. A landlord cannot discriminate against a tenant because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental or perceived handicap or unfavorable discharge from the military service. It is also illegal for a landlord to discriminate against families with children under the age of 18, people who are blind, hearing impaired, or use a guide, hearing or support dog. If you think that your rent was raised for a discriminatory reason you should talk a lawyer. Search the "Helpful Organizations" section below to find free legal help.

Helpful Organizations
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