RENT INCREASES ---- TIPS FOR TENANTS
In an attempt to provide landlords and tenants with information regarding rent increases, the County has, since 1982, issued an annual Voluntary Rent Guideline. This guideline represents the increased operating costs incurred by a landlord as determined by the rent component of the Consumer Price Index for the Washington Metropolitan Area. The Voluntary Rent Guideline is issued once every year.
Montgomery County also has regulations concerning the issuance of rent increases; they can only be issued once every 12 months and the rent increase notice from the landlord to the tenant must contain certain elements in order for the rent increase to be legal—see pages 20 and 21 of the Landlord-Tenant Handbook—A recent Decision and Order by the Montgomery County Landlord-Tenant Commission ( Case # 13286 Colespring Plaza Tenant Association vs Plaza Apartments L.L.C. Part I and Part II) enforced these provisions. This Office encourages tenants to communicate their concerns to their landlords and attempt, if they think the rent increase is excessive or if they will have difficulty in paying the increase, to negotiate a rent reduction.
In preparation for such a negotiation, tenants may want to research the following:
1)determine the market rate rent for a unit comparable to your unit for a new tenant—this will give you a context within which to place the rent increase.
2) Call other apartment complexes in the area to determine their monthly rent so you can compare rents among apartment complexes;
3) if you have been a long term tenant with a good track record consider the landlord’s perspective; it does cost money to turn a unit over to another tenant—there are advertising costs, potential lost rent between tenancies, and most of all as a tenant with a proven track record your continued and uninterrupted tenancy is important to the landlord. If you decide to move and the unit needs to be relet, they are taking a chance because a new tenant may not be as desirable a tenant as you are. Discuss these issues with the management staff and if they are not empowered to make exceptions to the rent increase, find out to whom you may speak.