Whether your CA landlord can raise your rent depends on whether you have a lease or a rental agreement, and what it says.
Some tenants have leases. If you have a lease, your rent cannot be increased during the term of the lease, unless the lease allows rent increases.
Many tenants have periodic rental agreements – for example, a week-to-week or a month-to-month rental agreement. If you have a periodic rental agreement, your landlord can increase your rent, unless the agreement does not allow rent increases. The landlord must give you proper advance written notice of the rent increase. The written notice tells you how much the increased rent is and when the increase takes effect.
How much advance notice must the landlord give the tenant?
If you have a month-to-month (or shorter) periodic rental agreement, the landlord must give you at least 30 days' advance written notice of a rent increase.
- The landlord must give you at least 30 days' advance notice if the rent increase is 10 percent (or less) of the rent charged at any time during the 12 months before the rent increase takes effect.
- The landlord must give you at least 60 days' advance notice if the rent increase is greater than 10 percent of the rent charged at any time during the 12 months before the rent increase takes effect.
The amount of notice required depends on the percentage of the rent increase. In order to calculate the percentage of the rent increase, you need to know the lowest rent that your landlord charged you during the preceding 12 months, and the total of the new increase and all other increases during that period.
How may a landlord deliver a notice of rent increase?
A landlord's notice of rent increase must be in writing. The landlord may deliver a copy of the notice to you personally. In this case, the rent increase takes effect in 30 or 60 days from the date the notice is delivered.
Alternately, the landlord may mail the notice to you, with proper postage and addressed to you at the rental unit. If the landlord mails the notice, he or she must give you an additional five days' notice. That means the landlord would have to give you 35 days' notice from the date of mailing if the rent increase is 10 percent or less. If it is more than 10 percent, 65 days' notice is required.
The actual amount of the increase in rent, in my opinion, should be reasonable and supported by market value rents of similar properties.
Always check with your local property management professional for the laws governing your local area, this blog pertains to CA rentals.