How to prepare for a big rent increase

Rents across the country dropped during the Pandemic but are bouncing back.

Tenants who got a place at a discounted rate in the last year or two will be in for a shock when their lease is up.

Allia Mohamed, CEO of openigloo, which allows renters in New York City to review landlords, said that many renters are receiving higher-than- expected renewals.

There are steps you can take to get ahead of a big jump, as well as a number of new protections available to tenants at risk of displacement because of rising housing costs.

Mohamed said that renters should know their rights by their city and state.

Rent increases are being regulated across the country. In Oregon, most hikes are limited to 7%.

Santa Ana, California, passed a bill in October limiting rent increases to no more than 3% during any 12-month period, or 80% of the consumer price index change for the year, whichever is less. Rents can not go up if there is no inflation.

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In Saint Paul, Minnesota, residents voted this month in favor of a rent control policy that will limit increases to 3% a year.

Some landlords have to give you notice if they want to raise your rent more than you want.

In Seattle, landlords are required to alert their tenants 180 days in advance of any change, and most renters in Washington state are guaranteed at least a 60-day heads-up.

If you can't afford to stay, your landlord may have to pay your moving costs.

If you compare your lease renewal rate to the rents of similar apartments in your area, you can see how fair it is. New Yorkers can use the rent calculator on to find out if they would be overpaying. Tenants can find the median rental prices in their city at

Patty Crawford, vice president of strategic accounts at Zumper, said to start making a list of examples if you find other places in your area going for less. The more data you have, the better.

You can find other information about your landlord and building.

Going into your negotiation, what you learn can give you more leverage.

Do you own a building with a small landlord? "What do you think?" Mohamed asked. She suggested that you emphasize how quiet you are as a tenant and that they want to keep you as a neighbor.

Does your landlord have vacancies? "Mohamed added." You could offer to spread the word and make referrals to your friends to help them fill apartments in exchange for a rent concession or discount.

Ask your landlord about their preferences.

If your property manager or owner senses desperation, you won't have a solid stance to negotiate.

If you sign a two-year lease instead of a one-year contract, they might consider a lower increase.

If you can, Crawford said, your landlord may respond well to an offer to pay a few months of rent up front. She said that many property managers would be happy to not have to worry about late rent payments.

The experts recommend that you start these conversations as soon as possible.

Crawford said that if the property manager or owner senses desperation, they won't have a solid stance to negotiate.

If a landlord won't budge on a rent increase, they might be open to compromises such as providing new appliances.

There are other things you could ask for if your landlord won't budge on rent.

She said that you might want a utility bill to be included in your rent.

She said that some property managers may be willing to delay the hike. They may allow you to pay half of the increase in the first six months and then make up the rest in the next six months.

She said that it could be a great compromise if you were expecting a salary increase.

Jay Parsons, vice president and deputy chief economist at RealPage, said that moving may not lead to lower costs. He said that renewal rent increases have grown at a third of the rate of new lease increases.

Property managers often price renewal leases below what a new resident would pay, and they want to save on other costs, such as changing the carpet, painting and cleaning.

It is not cheap to move.

The upfront costs of moving and utility transfers can add up and be more expensive than the rent increase.

You don't want to leave yourself in a situation where you may not be able to pay your rent or other expenses. The general advice is that you should not direct more than 30% of your salary to rent.

If a steep increase puts you far above that threshold, I would suggest finding something else. If the rent goes up again the following year, this may be unsustainable, even if you could tolerate the increase.