Raising the Rent

Hey all you folks out there in internet land! My very favorite part of this blog is writing the answers to the common questions we're getting, and this right now is the season for lease renewals. And based on our emails, a lot of people are getting notices saying that their rent is going up. So, what's the deal with that? Are rent increases legal?

Indeed they are. As long as they're done correctly.

Before I dive into an explanation here, it's important to know what kind of lease you have. An in-depth explanation is here. But here are the basics:

  • Term lease: you have a current lease with a beginning date and an ending date. You pay regularly (usually monthly) during that time. The term of this lease is the time between the beginning date and the ending date.
  • Month-to-month lease: you pay on a monthly basis, and don't have a current lease with an end date. For month-to-month leases, the term is the month that starts on the day of the month that rent is due (usually the 1st).
  • You don't have a lease: most folks who don't have a current/written lease usually have month-to-month tenancy. If you had a term lease, but it ended, and you're still just paying rent on a monthly basis, then you have a month-to-month lease with the same terms as your original lease, minus the end date. If you never had a written agreement, and just pay monthly, then you have a month-to-month lease, as well.

Rule #1: Landlords can't make changes to the rent that take effect during the lease term.

For example: If there is a lease for a year, a landlord can't just decide to make changes to the rent during that year long period. They can make changes that start