How to Deal with Rent Increases

According to Freddie Mac, nationwide rents increased an average of 3.6 percent in 2014 alone, and nearly 11 percent over the past three years.Is there anything more frustrating than getting a notice in your mailbox stating that there’s been a significant increase in your rent payments? You think you have your bills all straightened out, and boom, you find out there’s going to be a monthly increase that hits you like a ton of bricks.

It’s actually pretty common for a landlord to increase monthly rent payments. According to Freddie Mac, nationwide rents increased an average of 3.6 percent in 2014 alone, and nearly 11 percent over the past three years. In addition, these cities are seeing rent growth far exceeding wages, according to a study from the National Association of Realtors.

Even though it may seem unfair, landlords often have the right to raise the rent on their tenants once the lease has ended.

“They get to determine the prices, and you get to determine whether you’d like to live there,” states Robert Collins, deputy director of the San Francisco Rent Board.

However, there may be a way to get them back down to a more reasonable price. Here are some ways to negotiate when your landlord raises the rent on you:

Check Your Lease

The first thing you’ll need to do is check the binding contract you signed when you initially began living at the apartment. Typically, a landlord can’t actually increase your rent until your lease expires, so if your rent was raised prior to your lease being up, then there could be something fishy going on. Also, check over your lease to make sure there aren’t any exceptions to that rule, as sometimes a landlord is permitted to raise the rent if you add a roommate or a pet, if you’re remodeling or other various reasons.

Use Your Credibility to Your Advantage

Talk to your landlord and remind them how trustworthy and reliable you are. For example, do you always pay your rent on time? Do you maintain the place as best you can? By convincing your landlord that you’re being the best tenant you can be, they might be able to offer some wiggle room in the price increase. Also, make sure the landlord knows you’re in it for the long haul and aren’t looking for the next best thing to come along (that is, unless the rent becomes too high).

Sign a Longer Lease

Since your landlord can’t raise the rent until the lease has ended, it might benefit you to sign a two-year lease, if they offer it, pending if you know you’d like to stay in the area for that long. Take Amy Wolfenberger of Portland, Oregon, for example, whose landlord stated he wanted a $50 increase after her lease ran out. However, she decided to speak with him about the longer lease.

“The talk really went in my favor, because at the end of the day, a landlord wants a reliable income rather than a high one, so I offered to sign a lease for two years,” says Wolfenberger. “Plus, they know I really care for their place and the yard.” The new lease actually wound up being $25 less than her original rent amount. It doesn’t hurt to try.

Put Down a Larger Deposit

Paying more upfront for more months might persuade your landlord to keep the rent the same. When he sees that you’re committed with an immediate payout of your pre-payment, he may have a harder time refusing your offer.

Be sure to weigh your options to determine what decision is right for you.


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