When Can A Landlord Increase Rent? – San Diego Landlord Tenant Attorney
Landlords often ask whether they can raise rent on their tenants. The answer primarily depends on what kind of lease a landlord has and the amount that the landlord wishes to increase the rent.
To start, a landlord cannot increase rent during the term of a fixed term lease. A fixed term lease is exactly what it sounds like – a lease that is in effect for a specified period of time (i.e. one year). Unless it states otherwise, a fixed term lease contains a rent amount term which binds both the landlord and tenant for the duration of that term.
Some tenancies are not fixed terms, however. Rather, they are periodic tenancies which were entered into by the landlord and tenant, or they became periodic tenancies after expiration of a fixed term lease. The most common type of periodic tenancy is a month-to-month lease. Landlords typically can increase rent on a periodic tenancy unless the rental agreement states otherwise. However, a landlord must give advanced written notice of the increase in order for it to go into effect.
If a landlord and tenant have a month-to-month (or shorter) periodic term, the landlord must give at least 30 days advanced written notice. If the landlord is increasing rent by 10% or less, only 30 days notice is required. However, if the rent increase is more than 10%, the landlord will have to give 60 days notice.
Note that in order to calculate the proper rental increase percentage, the landlord must use the lowest amount of the rent that the landlord charged the tenant during the preceding 12 months against the amount that the landlord seeks to increase rent to.
This is only a general overview of rental increases in California and there are other issues that a landlord must take into account (i.e. how to properly serve advanced written notice). If you have any questions regarding an increase to rent, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858.519.7333 to discuss your specific situation.