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Ask Joe: How can landlord raise rent if lease is not yet up?

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From the Ask Joe file, we're looking into a question about rising rental rates in our community.

Michael wrote in to say he lives at the Courtyard Apartments on Third Street and his rent is going up, even though his lease doesn't expire for five more months.

He wants to know if that's legal.

Here's what I found out:

I checked with the manager, Rhonda Matthews, about this. Matthews says they have done their best to keep rents as low as possible. She says they have only increased them $20 over the last two years.

The rents at the Courtyard as of January 1 will cost about $640 for a studio apartment. Matthews says that does include utilities.

I did ask Matthews what happens if tenants have leases that have not expired. She told me there is language in the lease that states the terms of the agreement can be changed if the landlord provides at least 45 days notice.

In this case, Matthews says she has given tenants 60 days notice of the change to help them plan and prepare.

So it may be a matter of reading the fine print in your lease agreement to find out whether the landlord can raise the rent. In this case, it would appear they have the right do so.

And again, management there at the Courtyard says they have done their very best to keep the rents below the market levels.

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