Q: We just received notice that our rent will be increased in 30 days, more than the 10.3% allowed. 7% + inflation.
Do they need give us 90 days or 30? We are currently on month to month.
A: IF you are not on a week to week tenancy, nor a tenant in a mobile or floating home facility, then yes, your rent cannot be raised during the first 12 months of your occupancy and thereafter only with at least 90 days prior written notice and not more than the statutory amount (currently approx. 10.3%) over any 12 month consecutive period. IF the landlord is violating these requirements, you likely have a defense to any lawsuit against you for failing to pay the increased amount, plus you likely are entitled to recover up to 3 months rent, plus any actual damages, plus your court costs and attorney's fees.
The restriction on the amount of rent raise may not apply if the dwelling is less than 15 years old or the landlord is part of a governmental low rent or subsidy program. Even if true, however, they would have to include notice of such reason to be exempt from the rent control with their notice of the rent raise and it still needs to be at least 90 days advanced notice, in writing, lawfully served.
If you think you may be entitled to recover damages from the landlord, consider taking the notice and your rental agreement to a local landlord-tenant attorney for review and advice. It is the sort of case that an attorney might take on contingency meaning you would owe the attorney nothing beyond any initial interview fee for their fees; rather they would rely upon collecting their fees from the landlord upon winning or settling the case.
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