Rent increases are unfortunate, but predictable. A landlord raising rents at the end of a lease is not an uncommon occurrence. However, many landlords try to raise rents in the middle of a lease.
Citing increased costs or higher demand, your landlord might try to raise your rent by several hundred dollars. Should you face a rent increase at any time, there are several tactics you can try to dispute the extra cost.
Use the Lease Terms
Your lease contract should contain the amount of monthly rent and the length of the lease. A contract that does not have a stated lease term is considered to be a month-to-month rental. If your landlord is trying to raise your rent prior to the end of the lease term, show him the terms of the lease agreement setting forth the amount of rent you are required to pay.
Just as you are bound by the terms of the contract, so is the landlord, meaning that he cannot increase rents in the middle of the lease term for any reason. If your lease is at an end, however, this option will not benefit you. As long as the landlord is not violating the terms of the lease, he has the right to raise rents at the end of your lease term.
If you want to renew your lease but cannot afford the increase in rent, your best bet may be to do some research on the rent cost for comparable apartments. Investigate complexes or apartments of the same size with similar amenities. If your landlord is asking an amount higher than average for the area, point out this discrepancy to him and ask him if he would be willing to accept the average rate or the same rent you currently pay.
The comparisons will show him that it will be difficult if not impossible to find a tenant to lease the apartment at the amount of rent he is asking you to pay. This may induce him to lower or forego the increase altogether.
Discredit the Reasoning
If your landlord provides you an explanation or his reasoning behind raising rents he is doing you a favor because you will then be able to contradict these reasons. For example, your landlord says that the cost of upkeep for the complex, such as lawn maintenance, has increased, you can easily research whether this is in fact the case and if it is not point that out to him.
If you are able to discredit his reasons for increasing your rent, he may stop insisting on the increase.
If you are nearing the end of your lease term and have found that you currently pay the average or a lower amount of rent than is typical for the area, you will have little option but to negotiate. Possibly, your landlord may be willing to accept your involvement in the upkeep of the apartment or complex in lieu of higher rents.
By being responsible for lawn maintenance or garbage collection, or by replacing or maintaining appliances, you might be able to stop your rent from being increased.