Generally, landlords cannot raise rent except for at the end of a lease term or when otherwise specified in a lease agreement. Some states forbid any rent increases during the lease term.
Can Landlords Raise Rent During the Lease Term?
In most states, landlords can include language in the lease agreement allowing for a rent increase during the lease term. However, if the lease agreement does not provide for a rent increase, landlords must wait until it’s time to renew the lease before proposing a rent increase.
In order to increase the rent during the lease term, the lease agreement must specifically outline the conditions for a rent increase. For example, the lease agreement may state that the rent will increase by 10% of an increase in property taxes that occurs during the lease term.
For tenants on a month-to-month lease, landlords usually have more flexibility to raise the rent at the end of each month, as long as they provide enough notice.
However, state law may limit the frequency of rent increases regardless of what the lease agreement says, such as in Colorado, where rent increases are limited to once per year.
Which Situations Allow for Landlords to Raise Rent?
Rent increases are typically allowed in the following situations:
- End of a periodic lease (e.g., month-to-month)
- End of a fixed-term lease (e.g., year lease)
- Specific language in the lease agreement allows for an increase
- Landlords and tenants agree on a rent increase (e.g., as a condition of the landlord remodeling the kitchen)
Depending on the state, there may be additional situations when landlords can increase the rent.
Which States Limit the Frequency of Rent Increases?
The states listed below have laws that further regulate when landlords can raise the rent. Check the laws of your city or town, which may limit the frequency of rent increases. For example, rent increases in Portland, Maine are limited to once per year, but the state does not limit how often landlords can raise the rent.
|When Can a Landlord Raise Rent?
|Rent increases are limited to twice per year
|Rent increases are limited to once per year
|Oral lease agreements are considered month-to-month, so in that case landlords can increase the rent at any time
|Rent increases on mobile home tenants are limited to once per year
|Rent increases on mobile home tenants are limited to once per six months
|The rental unit must meet the warranty of habitability
|Lease agreements can include tax escalator clauses, i.e., statements that a tenant’s rent may be increased during the lease term by a specified percentage of the increase in real estate taxes
|Lease agreements can provide for rent increases during the lease term (with 30 days’ notice) due to an increase in utility costs, property taxes, or insurance premiums
|Rent increases on mobile home tenants are limited to twice per year
|Landlords cannot add language to lease agreements allowing for rent increases or increase the rent during a fixed-term lease
|Rent control and rent stabilization affect some units and limit the frequency of rent increases
|Landlords cannot increase the rent during the first year
|If the unit is rent-controlled, landlords must meet several criteria when increasing the rent, including registration with the Rental Accommodations Division and compliance with housing regulations