Most states don’t have restrictions on when and by how much a landlord can raise rent. Some states even ban cities/counties from instituting rent increase laws. However, landlords can never raise rent during a lease and without giving proper notice.
When Can a Landlord Increase Rent?
A landlord may want to increase rent for a number of reasons (i.e., an increase in tax/insurance, capital improvements); however, landlords can’t increase rent whenever they want, they must follow state/local laws. In most states, landlords can usually increase rent in the following situations:
- End of a Periodic Lease (i.e., week-to-week, month-to-month)
- Fixed-Term Lease Has Expired
- Lease Contains Specific Language that Allows for a Rent Increase
Furthermore, some states have additional or specific reasons as to when a landlord can increase rent, let’s take a look at the table below to see which states have additional regulations/restrictions.
|State||When Can a Landlord Increase Rent|
|California||If the tenant rents on a period from week-to-week, month-to-month, or a period less than a month (only).|
|Colorado||Once every 12 months, no matter the type of tenancy (only)|
|Massachusetts||Tax Escalator Clause (only)|
|New Jersey||At the Time of Renewal or Month-to-Month Tenancies (only)|
|Oregon||After the first year of tenancy (only)|
When is it Illegal to Raise Rent?
There are certain circumstances where it is illegal for a landlord to increase rent. Under most state laws, landlords are not permitted to increase rent in retaliation against a tenant for exercising a legal right (i.e., complaining about a habitability issue, filing a complaint to a local housing authority concerning a health/building violation code, joining/forming a tenant organization).
Let’s take a look at the table below to see which states impose a specific timeframe of when a landlord is not permitted to increase rent after a tenant exercises a legal right.
|State||Illegal Landlord Retaliation Timeframe|
|New Hampshire||6 Months|
|New Mexico||6 Months|
|New York||1 Year|
|North Carolina||12 Months|
|South Dakota||180 Days|
|Washington D.C.||6 Months|
If a state is not listed above, there is no specific timeframe of landlord retaliation. However, there are some states that do not impose landlord retaliation laws, which include:
Is There a Rent Increase Limit?
Most states don’t have a state statute enforcing a limit on a rent increase, thus allowing landlords to increase rent to whatever amount they see fit. It is recommended that landlords increase rent by a “reasonable” amount (e.g., 2%-3% of the current monthly rent).
However, some states have a rent increase limit, this is known as “rent control”. Rent control varies by state, city or municipality. Rent increases in rent-controlled areas range from 2% to 10% of the monthly rent cost. Let’s take a closer look at the states that have a rent increase limit.
In California, annual rent increases are limited to 5% plus CPI per year, up to a maximum of 10%.
The state of New Jersey provides no limits on rent increases; however, the increase must be reasonable. Additionally, local municipalities may have ordinances regulating the amount rent may be increased.
A landlord can follow these five factors to help determine if rent increase is reasonable: (Fromet Properties, Inc.v Dolores Buel, 294 N.J. Super 601 (N.J. App. Div. 1996))
- The amount of the rent increase.
- The landlord’s expenses and profitability.
- How the existing and proposed rent compare to rents charged at similar rental properties in the geographic area.
- The relative bargaining position of the parties.
- Whether the rent increase would shock the conscience of a reasonable person, based on a judge’s general knowledge.
New York has restrictions on rent increases, let’s take a closer look at the rent increase limits below:
- Rent-Controlled property inside New York City -The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) determines the Maximum Base Rent (MBR) every 2 years. They also determine the maximum collectible rent for each rent-controlled apartment. The highest amount a landlord can increase rent is the average of the five most recent Rent Guideline Board annual rent increase for one-year renewals or 7.5% each year until they reach the MBR, whichever is less.
- Rent-Controlled property outside of New York City– The DHCR determines the rate of the rent increase under rent control which is subject to the limitations of the annual Rent Guidelines Boards. Owners can apply for these increases.
- Rent Stabilized property– Once a year, the Rent Guidelines Board establishes the maximum amount that rent can increase. New York City, Nassau County, Westchester County and Rockland County have their own Board.
- Major Capital Improvements – 2% annually.
- Individual Apartment Improvements- Rent is capped at $89.29 for buildings with fewer than 35 units and $83.33 for buildings with more than 35 units.
- Preferential Rent– A landlord cannot revoke the preferential rent or raise the rent higher than the capped amount of the Rent Guidelines Board.
An Oregon landlord may not increase rent above 7% plus the consumer price index (CPI) annually. This legislation also makes it illegal for an Oregon landlord to increase rent within the first year of tenancy. This does not cover rental property when the landlord owns two or fewer units on the same property and lives in one of the units.
The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis calculates and publishes the maximum annual rent increase percentage on September 30th of each year that is allowed by statute. Currently the maximum rent increase rate is 9.9%.
The District of Columbia Rental Housing Commission has enacted that rent increases in rent-controlled areas should not increase more than 6.2% unless the landlord receives approval to increase above the 6.2%.
Tenants who are 62 years or older or if the tenant has a disability, the rent increase cannot go above 4.2% (unless the landlord receives approval to increase above the 4.2%).
Additionally, if the tenant is 62 or older/has a disability and annual household income is less than the amount below, the tenant might not have to pay part of the rent for the unit if the landlord received special approval for a rent increase:
- $54,180 – single person household
- $61,920- two-person household
- $69,660- three-person household
- $77,400- four-person household
- $85,140- five-person household plus $7,740 for each additional person above five
The rent increase may vary depending on the circumstances such as vacant rental units or hardship.
It’s important to note that certain cities/towns have their own governing laws regarding rent increases. Please check with your local/state laws to determine if there is a rent increase limit in your city/town.
For more information on rent control laws in your state, click here.
How Much Notice is Needed for Raising Rent?
Typically, a landlord must provide a prior written notice for raising rent. If the state has no specific legislation regarding the amount of notice for increasing rent, it is customary for a landlord to provide at least a 30-Day Notice or the same amount of notice to end a tenancy before an increase in rent is expected.
Below is a state-by-state breakdown of how much advanced notice is required.
|State||How Much Notice is Needed for Raising Rent|
|Arizona||30 Days (for month-to-month tenants)
10 Days (for week-to-week tenants)
|California||30 Days (less than 10%)
90 Days (more than 10% increase)
|Florida||No State Statute
Miami-Dade County requires 60 Days
|Hawaii||45 Days (month-to-month tenancy)
15 Days (tenancy less than a month)
|Kansas||30 Days (month-to-month tenant)
60 Days (for mobile home parks)
75 Days (for Portland, Maine)
30 Days (at-will tenant)
|Nevada||45 Days (month-to-month tenant)
15 Days (periodic tenancy less than one month)
|New Hampshire||30 Days|
|New Jersey||30 Days|
|New Mexico||30 Days or One Rental Period|
|New York||30 Days (less than one year of tenancy)
60 Days (more than 1 year but less than 2 years of tenancy)
90 Days (more than 2 years of tenancy)
|North Carolina||No Statute|
|North Dakota||30 Days|
|Oregon||7 Days (week-to-week tenancy)
90 Days (after first year of tenancy)
|Rhode Island||30 Days|
|South Carolina||No Statute|
|South Dakota||No Statue|
90 Days (for properties in Burlington)
30 Days (for rental properties in Seattle with subsidized rent)
|Washington D.C.||30 Days|
|West Virginia||No Statute|
Although it’s not required in most states, it is customary for a landlord to inform tenant why there will be an increase (i.e., increase in property taxes, increase in maintenance fees, etc.).
How Often Can Rent Be Increased?
In most states there are no regulations on how often rent can be increased, but the frequency should be outlined in the lease agreement. Some states have laws that control the frequency of how often a landlord can increase rent. If a landlord raises the rent more than the state allows, it will be an illegal rent increase. It’s important to note that while some states don’t have a statewide statute that regulates the frequency of rent increases, local laws may have certain restrictions.
Let’s take a closer look at which states have a limit on how often rent can be increased.
|State||How Often Can Rent Be Increased?|
|California||Twice in a 12-month period (subject to rent cap).|
|Colorado||Once in a 12-month period of consecutive occupancy, regardless of the type of tenancy.|
|Delaware||Once in a 12-month period, regardless of the type of tenancy.|
|Maryland||No state statute, but varies by city (i.e., Takoma Park Once in a 12-month period).|
|New York||Once a year (for Rent Controlled Units, Rent Stabilized Unit, Major Capital Improvements, Individual Apartment Improvements).|
|Oregon||Rent cannot be increased during the first of tenancy, but after the first year a landlord can increase rent annually.|
|Washington D.C.||Once a year or sooner if the unit becomes vacant or if there is hardship.|
In conclusion, if you want to raise rent on your tenant consider the following:
- Check with your state and local laws (i.e., the frequency of a rent increase, the notice period, rent increase limits).
- Review the lease agreement and determine the type of tenancy (i.e., periodic, fixed lease).
- Determine if the property is rent controlled.
- Give proper notice and communicate with the tenant as to why rent will increase (i.e., increase in property taxes, increase in maintenance fees).
- If your tenant is thinking of vacating after the rent increase and you would like them to stay, think about negotiating the rent increase price.
- Determine if your tenant has recently exercised a legal right and if a rent increase is legally allowed.