July 21, 2015 by Leave a comment

Green bar graph of Rent on white. Growth and development concept.

It’s easy to paint landlords as mischievous, greedy individuals who love nothing more than to steal your security deposit and raise rent. However, the vast majority of landlords know that it’s in their best interest to be reasonable human beings, and therefore, act as such.

But sometimes, the line between sensible human being and predatory profit-seeker can get blurry, especially when a rent increase is involved. So if you’re wondering about your landlord’s rent-raising etiquette, ask yourself the following three questions.

1. Do I have a lease, or a rental agreement?

Contracts are king. If you have a lease, a landlord usually cannot raise your rent until the lease is up. However, it’s possible there are certain stipulations, like major renovations, that would allow the landlord to raise rent before the lease runs out. So find your favorite fine-toothed comb, and give your lease a read through.

If you have a rental agreement, you have significantly less protection from rent increases. In most cases, this means rent is evaluated on a month by month basis, although week by week is not unheard of. Still, your landlord must give proper notice before the rent increase. Once again, read the fine print carefully.

2. What are your state/city regulations?

Some states and cities have regulations that put a limit on the amount rent can be increased (e.g. no more than 60% of current rent price).

Another common regulation is time of notice. In most places, this amounts to a 30 or 60 day notice before the rent increase.

3. Am I still confused?

Some situations have unique details that make it difficult for an answer to reveal itself. So if you’ve taken the previous questions into consideration, and still find your rent situation perplexing, your best bet is to call a landlord/tenant lawyer.

The bottom line:

Make sure you know what kind of deal you’re getting yourself into. And remember that in the end, your landlord’s duty is to keep rent at market price. If that means they have to raise rent once in a while, then so be it. For those with less aptitude for acceptance, don’t hate the player—hate the game. Or maybe it’s time to buy a house.


Carter Wessman is originally from the charming town of Norfolk, Massachusetts. When he isn’t busy writing about mortgage related topics, you can find him playing table tennis, or jamming on his bass guitar.

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