Your entire day, week or month can go sour, when you receive a rent increase letter. It’s a normal part of apartment living, and landlords send one to tenants every now an then. Some landlords go overboard and send a rent increase letter every 3 months or so, often violating state renting laws. There are a number of actions you can take when you get one, but you have to be careful how you deal with your landlord, and you have to document everything.
Don’t Respond that Day
What you don’t want to do when you receive a rent increase letter, is storm to your landlord or property manager’s office in anger, and demand that they not raise rent. It’s hard to avoid a conflict sometimes, when the landlord wants to raise your rent, but you should avoid adding fuel to the fire as much as possible.
Some landlords send a notice to vacate the apartment with the letter to increase rent, just in case you don’t want to go along with it. If you get them upset, they’ll find other reasons to quickly to get you out of the apartment.
Determine Your Best Course of Action
You need to determine if you want to stay in your apartment, or move out. There are so many factors involved, which is why you don’t want to approach your landlord right away. For example, if your rental or credit history makes it difficult for you to rent apartments, then you might need to do all that you can to keep this one. As a result, you may need to take a deep breath, and pay the rent increase. The letter will detail the amount you have to the pay and the start date, which should be at least 30 days later.
You may have other options for renting in the same neighborhood, and a clean rental history that makes it easy for a new landlord to accept your rental application. If that’s the case, then try to negotiate with your landlord to keep the rent the same. If they say no, then your options are to leave or stay and pay a higher rent.
Negotiate No Increase
Respond with a letter back to the landlord if you decide to negotiate. Don’t do it verbally from the start, because your letter will be your documentation should you end up in court for an eviction action or for some other reason. Ask the landlord to reconsider their letter to you. Explain the history of your tenancy to date, which should show that you’re a good tenant who has paid rent on time. Include comparisons to rent in the area, if it shows that a rent increase would make your rent too high when compared to similar apartments. If your landlord has trouble renting apartments, and there are a lot of vacancies, point that out too. Suggest to your landlord that they’ll make more money if keep you on board paying the current rent.
Some landlords may reconsider and void their rent increase letter, but others won’t. It’s worth trying to negotiate if you’re able.