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When Can a Landlord Increase My Rent in California?

If you live in a market rate rental unit in California then your landlord can increase the rent by as much as they want, but must give you the proper notice.

If your looking a big rent increase in the face and you live in California, there's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that your landlord has to wait until your lease is up to hike up the rent. The bad news is they can raise it by however much they want unless you live in stabilized housing.

When can your rent go up?

Unless your lease specifically allows for rent increases, your rent cannot be increased until the end of the lease term. If you have a different kind of rental agreement, like a month-to-month or subleasing agreement, your landlord can increase the rent at any time - unless the agreement specifically prohibits it.

All good reasons to read your lease agreement carefully before you sign it.

Stabilization is your only friend

Fifteen cities in California have rent control policies in place in California, but these are overshadowed by the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents cities from applying rent control laws to single-family homes and apartments built after 1995. If you live in a rental from before 1995 then there's a chance you're in luck - read your lease to start and then speak with a tenants rights group if you think your landlord might be failing to tell you that your unit is stabilized.

Notice periods your landlord has to follow

In order to increase your rent your landlord must give you advance written notice. The amount of notice required depends on how significant the increase is. If the rent increase is less than 10% of the monthly rent, a landlord must give thirty days notice before the increase goes into effect. If the rent increase is greater than 10% of the monthly rent, the landlord must give sixty days notice.

Ways of giving notice that your landlord has to follow

Your landlord must inform you of the rent increase in writing, and the notice can be delivered personally or sent to you in the mail. If in-person delivery is used, the notice period begins the day that you receive it. If the notice is mailed to you, the law states that five extra days must be added to your notice period. This means that if your rent is going up by less than ten percent and you receive notice in the mail, the increase will not go into effect for thirty five days.

Next steps

If your landlord is increasing your rent and you want to find something cheaper, try a long-term sublet or lease takeover with Caretaker.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.