Understanding when your landlord can raise the rent

Imagine your landlord coming to you on Friday and telling you that he or she has decided to raise your rent payment (which is due on Monday). This scenario is the nightmare shared by all renting tenants in Santa Cruz, and one that several of the clients that we here at The Law Office of Leo B. Siegel have assisted in the past have faced. Most may think that since your landlord owns the property you live or work in, he or she can raise the rent anytime he or she wants. Yet what does the law say?

First and foremost, according to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, your landlord cannot increase your rent during the term of your current lease provided that it is for more than 30 days. The only time he or she is able to raise the rent while in a current lease agreement is if yours is a periodic rental agreement. If your agreement does not provide a time frame for how long you are able to use the property (but rather simply details the dates when the rent is due), then it is classified as periodic.

If your landlord is able to raise your rent during your lease, he or she must provide you with written notice of his or her intent to do so 30 days prior to the increase taking affect. This time frame applies solely to cases where the rent increase will be less than 10 percent of your lowest monthly payment from the previous 12 months. If the increase will be greater than 10 percent, that time frame increases to 60 days. Your notice must be in writing and delivered in-person or by first class mail.

You can learn more about your rights as a tenant by continuing to browse through our site.

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