When Can an Increase in Rent Become Illegal?

Every landlord must follow the Federal Fair Housing Act which states a landlord may not increase rent based on the age, race, religion, nation of origin, familial status, sexual orientation, military status, or disability status of the tenant.

An increase in rent becomes illegal under three circumstances:

1. Discrimination;

2. Increasing before the end of the lease; and,

3. The act of retaliation.

Correspondingly goes for the case of lease. When signing the lease for a year, the tenant and landlord agree on the rent. The lease document indicates that the rent will remain the same until the end of the lease term. In this scenario, the landlord has to wait for the lease term to end and cannot increase the rent.If a tenant exercises their legal right, which doesn't sit well with the landlord, and a rent hike comes as a response or retaliation, it is termed illegal. The legal rights include:

By making a complaint to any governmental agency regarding certain conditions in the building. Such as health inspectors, building inspectors, fire departments, or any other regulatory body for lousy living conditions.

By joining any tenant union. Suppose the landlord is uncomfortable with the tenant joining any union and retaliates against it. However, it is the legal right of the tenant to join any tenant union.

Use rent money to fix any defects in the rental unit. The tenant can use the rent money for these fixes when the landlord has failed to comply with the fixes, resulting in terrible living conditions, health hazards, or safety hazards.

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