To legally raise your rent, your landlord first must give you valid notice of the rent increase demand. The type of tenancy you have will determine when a landlord must send a notice of rent increase, and whether this notice is likely to be joined with a
1. Tenants with Leases
If you have a
a. No Increases during the Lease
Your landlord typically cannot increase your rent during the term of your
Even if you and your landlord agreed to an increase during the
b. What Kind of Lease Do You Have
With a self-extending
lease, if you or your landlord do nothing, the leaseautomatically continues. You must give the landlord written notice if you want to leave, or the landlord must give you a timely notice to quitif she wants you to leave. If you have a self-extending lease, and your landlord wants to increase the rent, she must send you a proper notice of rent increase before the date your leaseautomatically extends. If the landlord sends the notice of rent increase after the leaseautomatically extends, there can be no rent increase until the next time the leaseends. (Sometimes a landlord gives a notice to quitwith a notice of rent increase so that if a tenant does not accept the rent increase, the leasewill not automatically extend and the tenancy will end).
- Option to Renew
With an option to renew
lease, if you do nothing, the leasewill end. An option to renew is not automatic. If you want to stay, you must give the landlord notice that you are exercising your option to renew your lease. Read your lease to be clear about exactly how and by when you must give notice that you want to renew.
Also read the lease to determine if your landlord can increase the rent if you renew. If your landlord does not give you the notice as required in your lease (if there is such requirement), your rent cannot be increased during the renewed lease period.
If your lease already says what the new rent will be if you renew, your landlord may not have to give you a separate notice of rent increase. Your rent must stay the same for the renewed
To determine whether your
2. Tenants at Will
a. Getting Legal Notice
If you are a
Terminate (or end)your existing tenancy at the current rent, and Offeryou a new tenancy at a higher rent.
Landlords often combine the notice of rent increase and a 30-day
For example, if you pay rent on the 1st of the month and your landlord wants a rent increase as of September 1, she must make sure you actually receive the offer of a new tenancy at the higher rent and a notice terminating your existing tenancy before August 1. If you decide to accept the rent increase but do not receive the
It is the date you actually receive the
notice to quitthat matters, not the date written on the notice or the date the notice was mailed or served.
b. What If You Refuse to Pay the Increase
If you do not to accept your landlord’s rent increase demand, you are still obligated to continue to pay the current rent. Make sure you get receipts of the payments so that you can prove that you paid the current rent. See Keep Records.
If you continue to pay the current rent, a landlord cannot send you a 14-day
notice to quitor notice of a rent increase does not mean you have to move out of your apartment, even if you choose not to pay the rent increase. A notice to quitis the first document your landlord must give you before she can start a court eviction process. A landlord must always go through the court eviction process. For more about the eviction process, see Chapter 12: Evictions.
3. Tenants in Subsidized and Public Housing
If you have a housing subsidy, the landlord can seek a rent increase only if the rules of the housing subsidy program allow a rent increase. This includes the Section 8 voucher program and other housing programs for private landlords.
To figure out what rules apply, first figure out what kind of subsidized housing you have.
- See Housing Programs
For information about rent increases in public housing,
46 . A tax escalator clause allows your landlord to pass on to you any increase in your landlord's property taxes by increasing your rent before the lease term ends. A legal tax escalator clause includes three things: (a) a statement that you are obligated to pay only the proportionate percentage of any increase in taxes attributable to your apartment; (b) the exact percentage of any tax increase you are obligated to pay; and (c) a statement that if your landlord receives an abatement or refund, you will receive a proportionate share of the reduction assessed to your apartment, less attorney’s fees. G.L. c. 186, §15C.