DO YOU KNOW HOW TO AVOID A RENT INCREASE?
There are a number of reasons why a landlord may choose to increase the price of your monthly rent after the initial terms of your lease are up. These include raising the rent to accommodate market trends or tax increases, as well as rent increases due to unit improvements or property maintenance needs. Regardless of the reasons behind it though, it’s never a good feeling as a tenant to find out that your rent is being raised. And in some cases, it might even mean that you won’t be able to afford your rental property anymore.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to possibly avoid an increase in your rent, such as negotiating rent with a property management company or writing a rent increase hardship letter. Here’s what you should know about both.
TIPS ON NEGOTIATING RENT INCREASE
Negotiating rent with a property management company is one way to address a rent increase, and could result in you maintaining your current rent—or minimizing the total amount that your rent increases by.
Of course, there is no guarantee that opening up negotiations will change the outcome of what your property management company or landlord is choosing to do. And unless your lease states that the rent cannot be increased during the total length of your tenancy (such as if you are in a rent controlled unit), you can’t demand that the rent stay at its current rate when you are signing a lease for another term. That being said, there are a couple of things that could help sway negotiations in your favor.
- Being a good tenant. Being a good tenant gives you a lot more leverage when it comes to negotiating a rent increase. Check out our article on what makes a good tenant for some of the specifics that landlords and property managers are looking for, which include tenants who pay their rent on time, take good care of the property, keep the lines of communication open, and abide by their lease terms. If you’ve been doing all of these things, you’re valuable to your landlord—and they may be willing to be flexible if it means keeping you as a tenant.
- Having a healthy relationship with the property owner. A healthy tenant-owner relationship counts for a lot. Communicating well and being courteous and respectful go a long way in the rental industry, and create a professional relationship that may be more open to compromise. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve never faced an issue with your landlord or property manager before, but that if you did, it was always handled in a respectful manner on both of your ends. When you go to negotiate, be ready to provide examples of why you’re a valuable tenant and why your relationship history warrants some flexibility. Your landlord does have the right to raise your rent when your previous lease is up, but if you can show why you’re such a good tenant to have, they may decide not to.
HOW TO WRITE A RENT INCREASE HARDSHIP LETTER
Writing a letter to landlord not to increase rent is another potential option that you have. This type of letter outlines your financial situation and why you cannot accommodate a higher rent. Combined with the negotiation variables listed in the previous section, it could convince your landlord to keep the rent at its current level for the foreseeable future.
Be specific in your letter, stating when your lease expires, what you are asking for (a renewal at the current rent price), and what your financial situation is. Be sure to explain why the rent increase would represent a hardship for you, as well as why you think that your landlord should let you keep your rent as is, such as your history of being a good tenant who always pays their rent on time and who is clean, quiet, and respectful. End your letter by thanking your landlord for their consideration.
It’s important to explain your hardship in writing, instead of doing it in person. This gives your landlord time to think and consider your request, and also leaves a paper trail of the conversation.