Q: I have a tenant who is on a month to month rental agreement and his rent has not been increased for the past four years. I would like to raise his rent from $1,000 to $1,200 per month. How many days notice do I have to give the tenant?
In California, you must give your tenant at least a 60 days’ notice if you wish to establish a new rental rate which is more than 10% than what the rent was one year ago. If the new rental rate is equal to or less than 10% of what the rent was a year ago then you are required to give at least a 30 day notice. For example, in your case, your rent was $1,000 one year ago and now you wish to increase the rent by $200 to $1,200. The $200 represents a 20% increase in what the rent was one year ago. Thus, you would have to give a 60 days’ notice to your tenant. However, let’s say you wish to increase the rent to $1,100 or less. In that case you would only need to serve your tenant with at least a 30 day notice. (10% of $1,110 =$100). If your tenant moved in less than a year ago and you wish to raise the rent then just use the rental rate upon move-in to perform the above calculations. Of course, if you are in a rent control area or in government-financed housing then other requirements may apply.
Q: I would like to serve my tenant with a 30 day notice to increase his rent from $900 to $950, do I have to personally serve it on him or can I just mail it to him?
You are allowed to either personally serve or mail by first class your notice to increase the rent to your tenant. If you personally serve it on him then it must be done 30 days before the increase is to take effect. If you choose to mail it to him then you must add an additional 5 days for the mailing. This means you must mail it out at least 35 days prior to when the rental increase is suppose to take effect. Note, if you increase the rental rate by more than 10% then you will have to mail the notice at least 65 days prior to when the increase is to take effect.
Q: Can I give my tenant a verbal notice that I am going to increase his rent?
No. It must be in writing.
Q: I am a tenant and I am in a month to month tenancy. My landlord has raised my rent three times in the past year, can she do that?
Assuming that you are not in a rent controlled area and that you do not live in government-financed housing, then yes the landlord can increase your rent as often as she likes. However, the landlord is required to give you proper notice of the increase and she cannot increase the rent in retaliation for you exercising your rights as a tenant.
Q: My tenant’s rent is due on the first of the month, can I start the rent increase in the middle of the month or do I have to make it start on the first of the month?
You are allowed to have the new rental rate start on any day of the month as long as you give proper notice. However, make sure you prorate the rent in the month in which the new rental rate started with a portion of the rent due that month at the old rental rate and the remaining portion of the month at the new rental rate. Also, always make sure that your rental agreement does not restrict your ability to increase the rent or impose other limitations.
Attorney Franco Simone, of the Landlords Legal Center and has been doing evictions for 18 years. He is also an adjunct law professor at the University of San Diego. Mr. Simone’s office is open Monday- Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Walk-in’s welcome -no appointment necessary. Tel: 619-235-6180, website: www.landlordslegalcenter.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.