Got a Notice of Rent Increase? Here’s What to Do

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There are a few times when your landlord has the right to increase rent. If rent control policies do not protect your housing unit, your landlord is well within their legal rights to increase rent. Also, if you sign your lease agreement and there’s a clause stating the landlord can increase the rent within the lease period, the landlord is at liberty to do so. Otherwise, a landlord can increase the rent during the renewal of either the month-to-month or annual lease term.

What are you supposed to do if you get a notice of rent increase from your landlord? This guide can help you decide whether your current living space is still worth renting or whether it’s time to move out to a new place.

What to Do If Your Rent Is Increasing

Ask for Comprehension Time

If the rent increase comes at a time when you are not well prepared, this could cause distress. Take time to talk to your landlord and describe your financial situation. Have a conversation with them, preferably in writing, about how the increase affects you and ask them to give you some time to come to terms with it. Help them understand that the time given will help you make an informed decision that will not likely impact the situation further. 

Seeing as the rise could be up to 25% in some states, you need time to find out where you will get the money. During this period, you can find a side hustle, gain an alternative source of income or apply for that promotion at work. If none of these are options, you might want to start considering budgeting tips to help you save some extra money. 

Is There Room for Negotiation?

If you have maintained your apartment in tiptop shape, you have paid your rent on time and you are in the good books with your landlord, you might be able to reduce the amount of money added to your rent. This may work better if you have been a model tenant or if you have good communication skills. Try and explain your financial situation, and see if your landlord is willing to lower the amount, especially if maintenance costs are involved.

Ask for a Longer Lease on a Fixed-Term Basis

Once you enter into a negotiation or once you come to terms with the increase, it is time to sign the lease for another period. This is a great time to negotiate a longer lease and see if you can bargain the rent increase down somewhat. Your landlord may be willing to accept less in rent as a trade-off for having a stable tenant longer. If you love the space and you are willing to spend a few more years in it, negotiate a longer lease, such as two or more years. If you can commit to paying on time and staying for the entire period, you can potentially lock in a favorable rate.

Find a Roommate

One of the oldest tricks in the book to help you manage your rent is to split it with someone else — with your landlord’s consent. You should take the interview process very seriously if you choose to go this route. Check out their backgrounds and have a face-to-face conversation to discuss things like their hygiene preferences, conflict resolution methods and more. If you prefer to live alone, this may not be an ideal situation, but it may be worth it in the long run, financially speaking.

Move Out

If the rent increase is way out of your budget and you can no longer afford to stay there, it is okay to move out and find something else within your budget. Apart from familiarity, you might have to give up some conveniences, such as proximity to work, family or friends. If you decide to move out, you need to communicate it to your landlord. This way, they can decide whether to let you live there until you find a new home or get their affairs in order to accommodate a new tenant.