Can a landlord increase rent when you are already stuck in your lease for another year?

Asked by Ceverett1214, Arlington Heights, MA Fri Sep 14, 2012

I am currently living in an apartment with three other people. We signed a lease in January through August 31st. The lease states that if the landlord does not hear from any of us 30 days prior to the end of the lease, that the lease will auto-renew for another year. It also states he can go up on rent. We were notified Aug 29th that rent would increase on Oct 1st. I have two questions. First, can a lease in Massachusetts auto-renew like that without needing a new lease and signature? Second, if we needed to let him know we wanted to terminate the lease by July 31st, wouldn't the landlord need to let us know about a rent increase 31 days prior to that? We are feeling stuck here as we had no out when we were notified of the rent increase. (as a side note, the lease stipulates the old rent price as the rent)

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beverly.lowe…, Home Buyer, North Attleboro, MA
Mon Jul 14, 2014
can my landlord raise my rent in the middle of the month,i am a tenant at will
0 votes
Heath Coker, Agent, Falmouth, MA
Sun Nov 4, 2012
There are certain "rules" for leases.
Then there are the terms you agreed to in your lease.
If you want to find out if your lease does not "comply" with the "rules", ask a lawyer, not a website.

(Please note: when you choose an answer as a Best Answer, or at least give a thumbs up, it helps those who answer questions here.)
0 votes
Christine Mo…, Agent, Wilbraham, MA
Sun Sep 16, 2012
Check with an attorney to see if there are any loopholes for you. If it is cheaper to move out maybe the landlord will be willing to work with you a little to keep you if you are good tenants.
0 votes
Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Fri Sep 14, 2012
A self renewing lease is just that, at the end of the term unless either party notifies the other that they do not wish to extend then the lease will automatically renew for an additional year at the same rate and terms. If the landlord wishes to increase the rent at the end of the term they must give you the proper notice that is outlined in the lease.

Contact your attorney and have them write a nice letter. You may write the landlord a nice note outlining your belief based on the lease and its terms.
0 votes
Ellen Friedm…, Agent, Cambridge, MA
Fri Sep 14, 2012
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with Short Sale Mitigation. This lease is subject to Massachusetts law and under the law, unless the lease stipulates otherwise, the landlord does not have the right to raise the rent once the lease has been signed. Effectively the new lease was signed when neither side notified the other of any changes by July 31. The landlord notified them of the new rent on August 29.
0 votes
The original lease DID stipulate otherwise. It stipulated the landlord can raise the rent. No, he can't just raise the rent if he feels like it, but if the lease "stipulates" the landlord can raise the rent, which it did, then he operating within the terms of the contract.
Flag Fri Sep 14, 2012
Short Sale M…, Other Pro, MA,
Fri Sep 14, 2012
The lease clearly stipulated if you weren't renewing you needed to let him know at the end of July. If at that point, you were renewing, he has every right to follow the terms of the original lease, and if he adjusted the lease amount and gave you notification, he followed the terms of the lease.
0 votes
The original lease states the rent amount. I would assume if he was going to increase rent, he would have had to let us know 30 days before we had to make a decision as to whether or not to stay.
Flag Sun Sep 16, 2012
But why is it okay for him to let me know about the increase after I was already bound into a lease for another year? That does not really seem fair or legal to me.
Flag Sun Sep 16, 2012
Deb Nicholls, Agent, Concord, MA
Fri Sep 14, 2012
The best source for you is Tenants Rights and Responsibilities…
It's from the state of MA.

Then read your lease carefully, to see what it states.

The usual procedure is that you both have the same window of time in which to notify the other. So the landlord should have told you of a rent increase 30 days before. I have never heard of someone raising it in the middle of a tenancy, which you are.

Auto-renew is common. I do it for all my tenants.

Hope this helps!
0 votes
Ellen Friedm…, Agent, Cambridge, MA
Fri Sep 14, 2012
Self-extending leases are legal. The standard ones (if that's what you have) require that either side notify the other if the lease is not being renewed by a certain number of months prior to the expiration. In your case it was one month. It sounds as though your lease auto-renewed with all of its terms intact. I have not seen the lease, but based on what you have written it is my opinion that once the lease self-renewed neither side could change the terms, and a rent increase is a change in terms. If the landlord gives you a hard time you might think of talking to an attorney.

Ellen G. Friedman, Keller Williams Realty,
0 votes
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