Renting an apartment for a specific monthly amount is not a guarantee that you won't have to pay more for it later. Depending on the agreement you have with the landlord and the apartment you are renting, your rate can increase with or without notice. However, it doesn't benefit an apartment owner to raise the rent significantly higher than similar complexes in the surrounding area because of the risk that you can always move instead of paying the percentage increase in rent.
If you are on lease terms longer than 30 days, such as a six- to 12-month agreement, your rent cannot be raised until the contract term expires, even if a new owner takes over. If your lease specifies that the amount of rent may be increased with sufficient notice, and you signed in agreement, then an increase can be instituted or you risk eviction. Once your lease expires, the landlord does not have to give you notice that the rent will be higher. You will find out when you sign the new lease. Of course, it is best to notify you so that management can be aware if you decide to vacate the apartment unit.
If you are on a month-to-month agreement or have no written contract at all, your rent may be raised with proper notice. Each state can pass its own legislation regarding the rights of tenants, but it is standard in many places to give the renter a 30-day notice if the increase is 10 percent of the rental rate or less. If the increase is more than 10 percent, then a 60-day notice is customary. These types of requirements give a tenant time to find new housing, if necessary.
Some states have areas where the apartment buildings are under rent control agreements with local housing authorities, so rental rate percentage increases are limited by strict regulations. Increase percentages vary by area. For example, in San Francisco, California, increases are tied to the rate of inflation unless you have proof of capital improvements made to the property. In New York City, apartment rates under rent control may be raised less than 4 percent on a one-year lease and less than 7.5 percent on a two-year agreement, as of the date of publication.
Average Increase Percentages
Regardless of the lease agreement you have and whether your apartment is rent controlled, certain areas of the United States experience increases in rental rates as a reflection of housing demand in various communities. According to "U.S. News and World Report," in 2011, asking rents increased an average of 3.6 percent across the nation. Some areas could have increases of more than 10 percent. Before your lease expires, ask your landlord if there is an anticipated increase in rents in your apartment complex.