Rent Increase Notice: What Should You Do?
You’ve just received what every resident dreads from their landlord. It’s a rent increase notice. Your first instinct out of frustration may be to move out when the lease ends so you don’t pay another dime. However, that may not be wise or effective. There are many things to consider when you receive a rent increase.
Can my landlord increase my rent?
Yes, but only when a new lease is signed. Your landlord cannot raise your rent in the middle of the contract. When the new lease term begins you will see the new rental amount.
Why do landlords raise the rent?
There are a number of reasons a landlord may need to raise the rent. There are upgrades to the property that need to be done. Property taxes go up, and inflation can factor in, increasing the cost to maintain the building, the cost of doing business. When things like the roof, sump pump, and window replacements need attention, they cannot often be put off.
What’s in it for me?
If the landlord is going to raise the rent, there should be an incentive for you to stay. Especially if you have been a good long-term resident. Renewal incentives, like high-traffic-area carpet cleaning or replacing outdated fixtures in your apartment, are options we’ve seen in the past. If you’re a fairly new resident, a small renewal gift shows that your landlord values you as a tenant.
What kind of rent increase can I expect?
Your rent increase is typically calculated based on a percentage of your current rent, typically something along the lines of 2-3%.
Cost of Moving
When you’re considering whether to stay or go after a rent increase notice, the cost of moving should be at the top of your list of consideration. Moving is NOT inexpensive, and takes a lot of energy and time. If the rent increase is fairly small, and you like where you live, moving is more trouble than it’s worth.
Reasons to move
- The rent increase is more than you can afford and not comparable to nearby similar complexes
- Moving would be more cost-effective over the course of a year than staying
- Management is inattentive and unprofessional
- Maintenance does not make repairs in a timely manner
- The upkeep of the property is unacceptable
- Your apartment is still dated, despite an increase (particularly true for a large increase)
- Common-area amenities are not updated or maintained
- Management has changed their standards for how they qualify prospective tenants, so the dynamics of the property are changing
- You learn that some of your neighbors are paying substantially less rent than you for the same size apartment and amenities
Reasons to stay and renew your lease
- The rent is comparable to other apartments in the area
- Maintenance requests are completed in a timely manner
- Management is professional and has a sense of urgency regarding the care of the building
- The landlord is reliable and easy to contact. He or she follows up with residents
- The landscaping and building exterior are maintained and appealing
- The interior of the building is kept up, and common-area furniture is up to date
- The neighborhood is safe and located near work, friends, and recreation
- Moving is expensive, inconvenient, tiring and time-consuming
- It may be high season for moving, and thus you’ll have more competition for few available apartments.
Rent increases can be frustrating, but the cost of doing business does not stay stagnant. Many landlords put your rent increase to good use. If you suspect that’s not happening, it’s time to look for a new home. If you love where you live, and can afford to renew your lease, then that’s a great choice to make.