For many tenants, rent increases are often an inevitable part of renting a home or apartment. With few exceptions, landlords are typically allowed to increase the rent on their properties with no limit on the amount. However, there are guidelines that regulate the reasons, timing, and communication of rent increases that must be followed. If the rules are not followed and illegal rent increases are suspected, a Miami attorney experienced at litigating landlord tenant disputes should be consulted.
Rent-Controlled vs Non-Rent-Controlled
In most areas and neighborhoods in America, landlords have the right to raise rent prices up to any amount, typically based on the local market. The only exceptions are rent-controlled and rent-stabilized areas where state and local statutes limit when and how much landlords can raise their rents. Unfortunately, there are not any rent-controlled areas in Florida. Still, in regular non-rent-controlled areas, landlords cannot increase rent prices on a whim.
Required Actions By Landlords
Even though there are no limitations on rent increase amount in non-rent-controlled areas, landlords are still restricted on how and when they can establish an increase. Firstly, landlords are contractually bound to the lease. They can only implement rent increases either after the lease expires or if there is an agreed upon stipulation within the lease that allows for an increase. If there is a month-to-month rental agreement between the landlord and tenant, they can raise the rent at the end of any month, but only with proper written notice given, in accordance with Florida rental laws, 15 days in advance.
Retaliatory and Discriminatory Rent Increases
There are two types of rent increases that are illegal, even according to the relatively lenient Florida rental laws — rent increases made in discrimination or retaliation. Discriminatory rent increases occur when rent prices rise exclusively for members of a certain social group — such as based on sex, race, religion, age, national origin, disability, and familial status. Other illegal rent increases, called retaliatory rent increases, occur when landlords raise rent prices in retaliation against a tenant who asserted their legal rights — such as filed a lawsuit or joined a tenants’ union. Both these rent increases are unethical and prohibited by federal law.
If you believe your landlord is raising rent in a discriminatory or retaliatory manner, consult with a Miami attorney specialized in litigating landlord tenant disputes. Even though rent increases are often a normal aspect of renting a home, they should not be implemented in a way that infringes on your legal rights. The attorneys at Graham Legal are skilled at defending our client’s rights in court — call us today for a free consultation.