Q: Can our deceased landlord’s son take control of the property and astronomically raise our rent?
Our landlord of 12 years just died. She never once raised our rent & we only signed a lease when we moved in. Assuming the ownership of the property (it’s a duplex) gets shifted over to her son, can he raise the rent super high or kick us out? We’ve been great tenants, we’ve caused no problems, and rarely bugged our landlord with anything.
A: Not to answer your question with a question, but is the original lease term still in effect? If it is, then your landlord should only be able to increase the amount of rent after the lease term expires.
As far as how much could your landlord increase the rent, normally, a landlord can set the rent at whatever amount she or he decides. One possible limitation would be Maine’s “Profiteering in rents” statute, 10 M.R.S. § 1106, which provides as follows: “Whoever demands or collects an unreasonable or unjust rent or charge, taking into due consideration the actual market value of the property at the time, with a fair return thereon, or imposes an unreasonable or unjust term or condition, for the occupancy of a mobile home park lot or of any building or any part thereof, rented or hired for dwelling purposes, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 11 months, or by both.”
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