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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    11

    Default Landlord Raising Rent After I Requested Repairs

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: California

    Hi guys. I recently asked my landlord to make some repairs to a leaking shower floor and he agreed to take care of this issue, but now he is trying to raise my rent. He says it will take pressure of the cost of the repair. He also says he is raising it because my wife and I are having (our first) child and that will be more expensive for him. He essentially threatened to sell the home if we weren't able to accept the increase in rent.* It is my understanding that in CA, it is not legal to raise the rent in retaliation to the tenant requesting repairs to keep the unit livable. What should I do? We have been here for 16 months and have always paid faithfully. We do like it here, but I fear if we agree to the rent increase, it will set a precedent for it to be raised again for any reason. What stance should I take? Thanks in advance for everyone's help.*

    Ps: when we moved in, we signed a 1-year lease which became a month-to-month lease after the one year was over.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,031

    Default Re: Landlord Raising Rent After I Requested Repairs

    so, you believe the landlords expenses for the property have not increased over 16 months?

    I am surprised it wasn't increased after the lease terminated.

    do you have rent control laws where you live?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    13,473

    Default Re: Landlord Raising Rent After I Requested Repairs

    The landlord is raising the rent due to the increase in household size. I don't remember whether CA law allows that, mid lease, due to birth or not.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Default Re: Landlord Raising Rent After I Requested Repairs

    I do not believe that his expenses have increased. I also do not understand how my having a child costs HIM more money. The rent was in fact raised after our one year lease expired.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Landlord Raising Rent After I Requested Repairs

    I do not know a home where the costs to maintain do not increase as time goes on. As well, if he bears any costs for any utilities, there is an increase to him due to a child being in the home.

    Then, property taxes often increase annually.





    so, do you have rent control laws where you live or not?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    11

    Default Re: Landlord Raising Rent After I Requested Repairs

    I do have rent control in my area IF the owner has 5 or more properties in my city, which he does not. I understand how the cost of home maintenance may increase, however the home owner pays no utilities whatsoever. My question does not have to do with rent being raised due to increased costs to the owner. I am asking advice on how to handle this situation since the owner is illegally raising rent in response to my request to have repairs made, i.e. retaliatory rent increase. The law in my state says rent may not be increased within 6 months of any repairs made at the owners expense unless they can prove that it is not in response to the cost of the repairs. The problem with that is that I have an email from the owner saying that to relieve the pressure of the cost of making the repair, they want me to pay more rent. *
    My question is: how should I handle this? Is it worth the trouble of fighting this? Or should I agree to the rent increase and possibly try to get another lease agreement to ensure a set rent for another 12 months? Thanks for your help, JK.*

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    27,031

    Default Re: Landlord Raising Rent After I Requested Repairs

    The law in my state says rent may not be increased within 6 months of any repairs made at the owners expense unless they can prove that it is not in response to the cost of the repairs. The problem with that is that I have an email from the owner saying that to relieve the pressure of the cost of making the repair, they want me to pay more rent. *
    The question is:

    what do you want to do? Given the email, it is obvious the intent of the increase which, as you state, it not allowed. If you would rather not make a big issue about this, then speak with the LL and explain to him the increase is not allowed by law. If you want a year long lease, I would suspect then would be a good time to suggest it. If you do not have an issue with the increase in general, possibly being willing to accept the increase in exchange for a year long lease might be an acceptable solution for both sides.

    If you want to force the issue, refuse to pay the increase and if he attempts to evict you, counter the action with your defense. Along with that, you can also seek damages, both actual and punitive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,995

    Default Re: Landlord Raising Rent After I Requested Repairs

    I am a NY LL, so I can't comment on the prohibition against increases for repairs in CA.

    But being a LL of 30 years, and my dad for over 50, I can tell you folks starting fights with LL rarely wins. So if you are right about retaliatary rent increase, but I don't see any limits on the mount of the increases, so if I'm the LL, all I do is wait six months and make the increase twice as big.

    As LL, my property taxes and insurance goes up every year, and for one of my SFH, it's gone up $350/month in the last five years. For good tenants, I rarely raise the rent, though it's usually a good idea for me to do small anual increases, and I did one $150/month increase within the last five years, so I am still making $200/month less, and this does not have anything to do with utilities, repairs etc.

    I don't see an infant increasing costs. However, I had arguments with a tenant moving their parents in, and they adamantly argued it does not increase my costs. Yet, because they take long showers, my water bill went up (I cover water) and other tenants complain that when they try to take showers at 7:00AM, there's no hot water, which did not happen till they moved in.

    And because they moved their parents in, I find I just had too many people for the 3 family house, so I just did not renew their lease, and asked them to leave. I chose not to argue with them on "how much more" the parents are costing me because it's none of their business, and I was tired of the other tenants complaining about no hot water.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    15,941

    Default Re: Landlord Raising Rent After I Requested Repairs

    How much notice did he give of the proposed rent increase, and how much is he proposing to raise the rent? If it's less than 10% of your current rate, he needs to give at least 30 days notice. If more, 60 days notice. If he is not providing proper notice, this may also work in your favor.

    As jk notes, it may be to your advantage to have a calm discussion with your LL, noting that the proposed increase is illegal, and cite the relevant section of code. Offering to sign a new lease as a compromise will protect you from further rent increases for the duration of the lease.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    11

    Default Re: Landlord Raising Rent After I Requested Repairs

    Schinsfin:

    Thanks for your input. So you think it's a good idea for me to accept the rent raise and move on? I do like living here, but I fear that every time a repair that is my LL's responsibility is requested I will see another rent increase. I just don't want to set that type of precedent. I also feel -and you may agree- that the reasons given to me as to why the want to raise my rent seem sort of weak, for lack of a better word. Also bear in mind that i pay ALL utilities. When we first looked at the home as a newlywed couple, one of the LL's selling points to us was that it was a good place to start a family. Now they are saying they didn't expect us to have any babies (I feel like I'm living in communist china suddenly). We have been here 16 months and have personally deposited the rent into the LL's bank account on time, every month. We just feel a bit taken for granted perhaps. Do you think the suggestion that if we don't pay the increase they will consider selling the home is somewhat of a passive/aggressive ultimatum? How can I make this a win/win for myself and the LL? Do you think it's reasonable for me to agree to pay the increase on the condition that a new 12 month lease be signed? We truly are model tenants who take care of the home as if it is out own.*

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