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    ItPrincess54's Avatar
    ItPrincess54 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Aug 11, 2006, 12:58 AM
    Rental House - Tenants Rights
    I rent a single family house in New Jersey, the owner lives in another town, can she increase my rent any percentage she wants to or is there a law that governs rental increase practices for my type of rental. We are on a month to month lease for the past 18 years never had a written lease ever - now she wants one and is increasing the rent $200.00 more a month is this legal?:mad

    Addition to above post - Are New Jersey laws different for apartment tenants and single family tenancy? Also there are a couple more ques. This house also has a tenant renting a garage apartment that was built next to the house years ago and that tenant pays rent and hasn't been given a rent increase, it's still attached to the main house. We are using well water here and it is on our electric bill for both the house and the apartment, shouldn't there be a separate bill for that tenant? What is the difference how long one has been renting this house is over 50 years old and has not had any upgrades or major improvements since I've been renting, only the roof has been replaced since I've occupied this domain. Something doesn't seem right that just because a person owns a property they can treat tenants anyway they want - or throw them out. I cannot understand what allows a property owner to do whatever they like regardless of anything we are still tenants. We are in the process of looking for something else possibly a purchase of a home but everything takes time. - by the way this is on a large amount of land worth millions so there wasn't ever going to be a lease to own option here.
    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
    Uber Member

    Aug 11, 2006, 02:38 AM
    Unfortunately NJs laws are not tidily spelled out online, but with the exception of New Yorks very restrictive laws I don't know of any any states that dictate the maximum amount a landlord can charge... or even raise the rent.

    When you're on a month to month (which is what you're on absent a lease... or if a lease term expires), then the landlord can raise the rent with proper notice, period.

    If you rent has been stable for that long, then you should count yourself lucky.

    I found nothing searching the state laws, but you can do some rooting through them yourself here:
    (You can't just read through them, you have to search them with terms in the search box).

    To be sure, you might also ask a local attorney - or legal aid office. For simple questions like this ("Is there a maximum that the landlord can raise the rent on a month-to-month occupancy?") I think you'll find that they'll answer you right over the phone.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man

    Aug 11, 2006, 05:33 AM
    I agree with what Rick said, but you might also try a real estate broker to ask the question, especially one that handles rentals. They may know the answer and be more likely to answer without charging you anything.
    LUNAGODDESS's Avatar
    LUNAGODDESS Posts: 467, Reputation: 40
    Full Member

    Aug 11, 2006, 05:50 AM
    Yes, the Lease owner can raise the rent here is a copy from the site suggested by rickj:"The amount of rent which may be charged shall be limited to the product of the fair market rental value of the premises prior to the emergency conditions and two times the rate of inflation as determined by the increase in the CPI for the immediately preceding nine month period. For the purposes of this section, "CPI" means the annual average over a 12-month period beginning September 1 and ending August 31 of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), All Items Series A, of the United States Department of Labor (1957-1959 = 100), for the New York, NY-Northeastern New Jersey region.

    c.In the event that a landlord believes that the limitations on increases in rental charges imposed by a "Notice of Rent Protection Emergency" prevent the landlord from realizing a just and reasonable rate of return on the landlord's investment, the landlord may file an application with the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety for the purpose of requesting permission to increase rental charges in excess of the increases otherwise authorized under the "Notice of Rent Protection Emergency". In evaluating such an application, the director shall take into consideration the purposes intended to be achieved by P.L.2002, c.133 (C.2A:18-61.62 et seq.), and the "Notice of Rent Protection Emergency" and the amount of rental charges required to provide the landlord with a just and reasonable return. The Director shall promulgate rules and regulations in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to effectuate the purposes of this act... "
    Your rights are clear... you may challenge the increase...
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,302, Reputation: 7692

    Aug 11, 2006, 07:00 AM
    I will make a note, If I were you, I would look at other property in your area, and see what the going rent is. If you have been under paying for several years, this increase may well be justified,

    And remember you are on a month to month rent, so if they get mad at you then can merely ask you to move out and end your rental agreement also.

    So yes you can challenge the rent, but they can merely ask you to leave and then rent the home to someone else at a fair market value.

    I will assume that since you have lived there for 18 years you know the landlord fairly well. It is obvious that they are looking more closely at their business investments and rentals and understand that leases are needed for the protection of their rights and to protect your rights.

    So yes they can require you to sign a lease or ask you to move out.
    And while you may challenge the amount of the new increase I would seriously look at what other similar rentals are charging and see if it is fair or not. Your rights should also not cheat the other person from a fair rent if they were letting you stay on lower than normal rent because you had been a tenant for so long.

    And of course after 18 years I am sure you would hate to have to move within one month if they give you notice of that also.

    Remember while you may win not having to pay more, on a month to month with no written lease, they only have to give you a month notice to vacate and do not need a reason other than they wish you out.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man

    Aug 11, 2006, 07:29 AM
    Chuck makes some good points.

    I wouldn't look at the amount of the increase ($200) but at the percentage increase. If your current rent is $200, then this is a 100% increase and probably challengable. However, if your current rent is $1000 then this is a 20% increase and may not be out of line especially if you haven't had an increase for a long while.

    Some of the other answers have made an assumption that you haven't had an increase in a while, but your post didn't make that clear.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,302, Reputation: 7692

    Aug 11, 2006, 09:15 AM
    Yes I am sorry I did assume you had not had an increase in a while.
    And we did not ask or know what your current rent is. I guess if you are in a apartment in NY and are paying 2000 a month or if you live in a trailer in south ga paying 120 a month it is a difference also.

    And I will say perhaps I answer as a landlord since I do own rental property.
    But no one moves in without a rental app, a credit app and rental app and credit app fees paid, and if approved a signed lease with deposit and first and last months rent. So as a landlord I believe in protection of my property rights very highly and also I am a firm believer that an owner of property should have specific rights in that property ownership.

    And I will add, if you have rented for 18 years have you never considered buying a house, if you had paid house payments instead of rent you could almost own something by now. ( I normally offer my renters a chance to pay the house after they have lived there a few years if they want)

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