Can a landlord raise rent during a lease

Can a landlord raise rent during a lease

I am a landlord tenant attorney In New York and I have a particular expertise in the laws dealing with rent increases, but without knowing what state you are in, my answer to this question would only be a general comment on common principles of contract law.

A lease, like any contract, cannot be unilaterally modified by one party prior to its termination. Therefore, the idea of one party deciding that the amount of rent set forth in the lease needs to be changed in the middle of a lease does not sound right to me. But there have two kind of situation (Yes / No ).

NO. The only way that might happen is if both parties want to change the terms, such as you want to rent out add another person, to the lease. The rent is often increased especially if the Landlord pays utilities. The the parties all sit down and sign the new contract which may continue the remainder of the present lease or start a new cycle.

It’s your lease. What was the deal you made when you rented the place? Many two-year leases contain an increase in rent for the second year. If your lease allows for an increase in rent then yes, your landlord can increase the rent. If it does not then your landlord cannot increase the rent.

If your lease provides for an increase then no notice is required, since the lease itself constitutes notice to you of a pending increase. If your lease allows for a rent increase, than the landlord can increase the rent. The lease itself would act as notice.

If your lease does not allow for a rent increase, than the landlord cannot increase the rent.

Yes  , If you were in a country suffering from  hyper inflation, say like Brazil or Argentina at present, or the Wiemar Republic post WW 1, the cost of a meal can and has changed multiple times while you are sitting eating. Rare? Yes. Contract law allows for changes of terms subject only to housing regulations of the local government. Like rent control. Need to obtain a copy of your local regulations and familiarize yourself to them.
Please Read your lease contract carefully.

So please read what you sign, preferably before you sign it. You may well have agreed to a rent increase after the first year which is common for two year leases. If that is in your lease it’s not the landlord unilaterally increasing your rent but rather a rent increase you and the landlord agreed to from the get go (lease inception). But if the increase is not provided for in a two year lease, then no, your landlord cannot increase the rent during that term.

Rent Law In USA / UK

the landlord can increase the rent at any time as far as I know. They must notify the tenant a couple of months in advance, and your choice is then to pay the higher rent or give notice to leave the property.

But much of the law is based on common sense. In America / England the law is based upon the “common law”, the law of the common people. Sometimes the legislature screws it up. If you sign a contract ( or verbally agree to it ), the terms remain binding until the contract comes to an end. If either side wants to change the rental agreement, they must wait until the current contract ends, unless both sides agree to a change. Since it would be very distributive if the landlord or tenant waited until the last day of the contract to propose a change [tenant can’t find a new place to rent on one day’s notice, the landlord can’t find a new renter], the law requires both sides to give the other a reasonable time for notice of any change. In California, and probably most other states, that is 30 days ( the Legislature decided if the tenant has been there for a year or more, it is nicer to double the notice period because they have shown they were “serious” tenants).

It depends on the wording of your lease.
If it says “Rent shall be $xxxx per month and due on the first of the month” (or something similar) then no, they have to stick to the terms on the lease as they are written, same as the tenant.

If it says “Rent shall be $xxxx a month and due on the first of the month but may increase after x months to $xxxx” then yes, they can, so long as they stick to the terms provided in the lease that you signed (and hopefully read).

Does your lease specify a rent increase? If not they would have to wait till the end of the current lease term. Typically you would be required to give min 60 days notice for rent increases and you will have to check your lease. It could be as few as 30 days notice. I have seen some leases where the rent automatically increases a set percentage. If this is the case, then no notice would be required as you already agreed to it when you signed the initial lease. All the questions you asked should be explicitly answered in you lease. All terms of a lease must be adhered to by both parties for the duration of your lease. If there is not a clause that rent may be increased mid-lease, then what the landlord is doing is illegal.

You might look around for a local group that handles fair housing, as they might be able to direct you how to best handle the situation without having to hire a lawyer. I think your best bet would be to paid the owed amount, and let them sue you for not paying the full amount. Then you can defend yourself in court, using your lease as evidence, and will likely win. I would still probably consult someone as I believe there are specific steps you have to take so as to not inadvertently accept the rent increase.


It depends on where you live. If you have rent-control in your city/town, then the landlord has to work within those rules. Increases, in that case, may be limited to a percentage within that law.

If you don’t live in a rent-control jurisdiction, then it would depend on the contract you have with the landlord and if it’s still during that period of the contract. If the contract was for one year, for example, then the rent cannot change during that period, if the contract stipulates that. Once the contract ends, you may revert to what’s called a “month-to-month.” During that period, you may have your rent raised. You cannot be evicted or have your rent increased, without a period of notice. So if your rent is increased beyond your ability to pay, you can speak to the landlord and try to negotiate a lower amount. If you’ve been a good tenant, then perhaps they’ll see the benefit of keeping a worthwhile tenant with a small increase, rather than taking a chance on an unknown tenant.

Landlords have lots of expenses that may not be obvious. Taxes go up, things need repair, there are unexpected vacancies, etc. That being said, double the rent is really a lot! So maybe there’s more going on. Ask?

In most states, if the landlord receives an increase in property insurance, taxes or any other monthly expense, the y can add an increase to reflect the increase in expenses. This has been allowed by the courts in Alabama and Mississippi.

Where it can be an issue is if the landlord just increases the rents for no reason or the increase is larger than what would cover the additional expenses and tenant would have a case to recover damages.

This is going to depend on your lease and the area you live in. I’m in Texas and we do not have rent control here. When a lease ends we have several options: we can renew it with no changes, we can allow it to go month to month with no changes, we can terminate it and require the tenants to relocate, or we can have them sign a new lease with new terms including an increase or decrease in rent.

As a landlord you want to keep your properties occupied and in rentable condition but it’s not a charity. We must be able to take care of any expenses and also make an income in order to make it profitable and worth our while. So yes, we have increased rents for properties based on those factors when a lease expires. If we didn’t then we would not be able to continue the business. Our rents are based on market rates and we do not have subsidized housing. We must be doing something right as the majority of the properties have little down time unless we are dealing with an eviction and/or renovations/upgrades.

By the way, we have high transient population in our area due to military so few of our leases start out as anything but month to month. The majority of our properties have been fixer uppers that we have improved over time and we increase rents accordingly. Tenants are made aware of that when they rent the properties and we give a minimum of 30 day notices regarding increases. We do not want vacant properties so most of our increases .

Your landlord can’t just increase your rent whenever they like, or by any amount. They need to follow certain rules if they want you to pay more – these depend on the type of tenancy you have.

If you disagree with your rent increase the best thing you can do is talk to your landlord and try to reach an agreement to pay a lower rent. If you can’t reach an agreement you can challenge the increase.

However, rent laws ussually vary from state to state so you better consult local lawyer before finalising anything.

Leave a Comment