Getting a notice from your landlord that your rent is increasing would ruin anyone’s day. Unfortunately, this stress-inducing reality has been happening across the country as reports of rental rates hitting an all-time high have been making headlines regularly. After the initial shock wears-off, it is time to start thinking about your options for dealing with a rent increase.
Remember that tenants cannot see everything behind the scenes. Owning and managing a property is a significant undertaking, and tenants don’t always see the other side of it.
Most landlords don’t raise their rent on a whim. Instead, they’re recalculating their rates to account for to ever-increasing tax burdens, to pay for property maintenance or improvements, or to match market rates.
Like most industries, the rental market responds to economic trends creating conditions for owners to ask more or less for rent depending on their region. Kentucky State law regulates several rent-related issues, including the amount of notice (at least 30 days in Kentucky) landlords must give tenants to raise the rent and how much time (seven days in Kentucky) a tenant has to pay rent or move before a landlord can file for eviction.
At the same time, tenants deserve fair rental rates, and you should know when it’s reasonable to communicate your concerns. If you’re a good, reliable tenant, then you may have some more leeway in opening up discussion with your landlord. Willingness to compromise can be a fair way to approach your apartment’s rising rental rate.
Finding out your living expenses are increasing each year can be frustrating. If the new rent is going to price you out of your household budget, finding a less expensive rental is what needs to happen. Do not put additional strain on your finances by living in a place you cannot afford. If you can afford the new rent but do not want to pay it, do some research to see what else is on the market. You might discover that rents have gone up universally in your area and your landlord is asking for a reasonable price. Would it be worth the moving expenses to find a comparable property with comparable rent? Understanding why apartments raise rent every year can help you find ways to negotiate your case, and settle into a lease that fits your financial needs.
Communicate with your Landlord
Before you start paying the higher rate or perusing the rental ads, have a professional and honest conversation with your landlord. Tell your landlord you are concerned with the rising rent prices and that you will probably have to move. You might find that he likes you as a tenant and will negotiate the rent increase down in order to keep you. This tactic will only work if you get along with your landlord and have a history of on-time rent payments.
You have to be prepared for him to say no. But it won’t hurt anything to ask. Be professional, empathic, reasonable, and never get angry or defensive. I have heard the success of renters talking a 10% rent increase down to 5%, with the knowledge that the rent will increase by another 5% in a year, but at least it wasn’t such a steep jump. If you are mean or hostile during this conversation, your landlord will probably be happy that you are moving out.
Ask to sign a longer fixed-term lease
Landlords cannot raise the rent on you during a fixed-term lease agreement. If you are tired of your landlord raising the rent every year, ask your landlord if you can sign a lease for 13 or 24 month term. This means you will have to commit living on that property but if you have no intention of moving you will benefit from the knowledge that your housing budget will remain stable.
In most cases, your landlord will agree to a long lease agreement, because that means they will not have to deal with releasing the property, turnover, or vacancy. If you already have a history of on-time rent payments and good landlord-tenant relationship your landlord should be open to a long-term lease agreement.
In some cases, the only thing to do will be to move. The harsh reality of rising rents is that some people will be forced to move out of great apartments in prime locations. Moving away from your city center or job can reduce your housing expenses; however, it may also make your commuting expenses go up.
If you live in a tight rental market, with limited vacancies, be sure to communicate your moving plans to your landlord. He might be reasonable about giving you an extension to live on the property at your current rate until you find a new property. Don’t overstay your welcome or take advantage of your landlord’s generosity. Remember that your current landlord will need to give you reference in order for you to find a new place.
Prevent Rent Increases – Be a Great Tenant
I have had many discussions with landlords that they do not want to raise the rent on good tenants for fear of losing them. In general, landlords hate finding new tenants. Turnover is expensive and time-consuming. If you are a good tenant, ie pay your rent on time or early every month, there is a chance that your landlord will avoid raising the rent on you. This is not always the case, as some rent increases are inevitable but every renter should strive to be a good tenant.
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Tony Clark Realtors®, LLC represents home buyers, home sellers, and property owners since 1976. We are trusted by many property owners to manage their rental properties, having one of the largest portfolios of rental properties available in the area. When you choose Tony Clark Realtors® for your real estate needs, you can have peace of mind as to the high value and quality of service you’ll receive.