At some point, every landlord will need to raise the rent on his or her rental units. Whether it is due to an increase in the cost of living, improvements made in the unit or some other outside factor, increasing rent is allowable.
However, there are specific laws restricting how you can raise the rent. Not abiding by the law could land you in court and be quite costly.
Notice of increase
You must provide your renters with a notice that you plan to increase the rent. You must provide this notice one rental period before the change. So, if your tenant pays monthly, you need to provide notice 30 days before you intend to charge the new price.
If your tenant has a lease, you can only increase the rent when a new lease period starts. For example, if your tenant signed a one-year lease, you must wait for the one-year term to end before you can increase rent. Your tenant then has the option to sign the new lease with the higher rent or to move out. If your tenant refuses to sign the new lease, you can charge the higher rent if he or she does not move out.
Rent increases need to be reasonable. In general, they are reasonable if comparable units rent for the same amount in the area. But this can ultimately be up to a court to decide. You will have to be able to prove the increase is fair.
It is always a struggle to raise the rent, but sometimes, it is necessary. As long as you follow the law and ensure the increase is reasonable, you should have legal standing in your decision.