Mail Call: How Much Should Your Rent Be Increased Yearly?

You heard it here first — we’re going to the mailbox!

Benjamin from Allentown, PA  wants to know how much his rent should be increased per year. Ah, don’t we all. I’m actually about a month away from my landlord sending me my renewal papers and I’m already anxious as to whether he’s going to up my rent and — if so — by how much.

I wish I could give you a hard and fast answer, but alas it’s kind of up to the goodwill of your landlord UNLESS you managed to somehow get yourself a rent stabilized apartment (New York Only). Then your rent can only increase by a level set by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board (rate increase is currently under debate due to a court order).

For those of you asking, “What’s a rent stabilized apartment”, it’s an apartment that’s been occupied since before 1971 (sigh).  More details here.

So, assuming you don’t have a rent stabilized pad, what should you expect? Probably between a $25-100 increase depending on the current rent you pay and how many roommates you have (logic is each person might get a $25 increase etc). Some landlords do a percentage of your monthly rent, typically between 2-5%.

But, again, remember that the monthly rent is always open for negotiation. And, if you’ve been a good tenant, your landlord is much more likely to work with you. Just think about it, why would they want to go to the trouble to find a new tenant who could be HORRIBLE if you’re great and already living in the place?

That my friends, is your bargaining chip.

Also, feel free to talk to your landlord about next year’s lease before he/she comes to you. It shows responsibility and foresight. This is an especially good tactic if you have special circumstances (like, say you lost your job and can’t handle a rent increase).

If you have other specific rental Q’s, let us know!

P.S. Sharon — we’ll get to yours next:)

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Author My First Apartment

Posted by

I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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Comments (5)

  1. Avatar Katie

    I guess this confirms that my complex is nuts. I moved in 6 months ago, and thought “I like this place, maybe I’ll actually renew at this one” – and the rent on their website has raised more than 12% than what I pay. In only 6 months!! I’m afraid to ask what it will be once we near the end of the lease…

  2. Avatar Shannon

    Even if you are a great tenant the landlord still has to deal with rising property taxes. A rent increase should be expected, but it shouldn’t be ridiculous.

    However, I currently have a tenant who doesn’t pay on time, doesn’t do the yardwork he happily collects a discount for (we now have to outsource to clean up what he hasn’t been doing), leaves large items of garbage (even a couch) in the yard, and damages the property. You can bet he’s getting the biggest rent increase allowed by law.

  3. Avatar Rental Ads

    I agree. I’m a landlord and if I have a good renter that I want to keep for another year, I keep the rent the same, no increase. However, that does not mean your landlord doesn;t like you if he increases your rent. Remember, a rental property is an investment and landlords need to make a return on their investment to make it worth while. The average annual cost of living increase in teh U.S. is about 4%. Therefore, if I am going to give a rate increase, I usually do 4%, just to keep up with the cost of living increase.