loading...

UrbanTurf Reader Asks: How Do I Increase Rent?

by Shilpi Paul

image

Recently, a reader wrote in to UrbanTurf asking for advice on how to increase the rent on her rental property. She is in the process of creating a new lease for a current tenant and is having trouble figuring out the allowable rent increase. Additionally, she wants to shift the burden of a few more utilities to the tenant.

We reached out to Joel Cohn, the Legislative Director of DC’s Office of the Tenant Advocate, for some advice on the best approach to take.

Here is Cohn’s response:

1. For any unit under rent control, the maximum standard annual rent increase is based upon the CPI percentage for the current “rent control” year, which is published each February by the DC Rental Housing Commission. The “rent control” year runs from May 1st through April 30th of the following calendar year. The cap for elderly tenants (age 62 and over) and tenants with disabilities is the CPI percentage itself. For all other tenants, the cap is the CPI plus 2 percent. The current CPI figure is 3.6 percent. Thus, for elderly tenants and tenants with disabilities, the maximum rent increase is equal to the current rent charged multiplied by 0.036. For all other tenants, the maximum rent increase is equal to the rent charged multiplied by 0.056. (Unless the housing provider has properly registered the unit as exempt, the unit does fall under rent control and all rent increase restrictions apply.*)

2. After the expiration of a lease term, a tenant in the District is entitled to continue the tenancy on a month-to-month basis on the same terms except for allowable rent increases. Tenant’s refusal to sign a renewal lease is not a valid basis to evict the tenant, regardless of whether the unit is under rent control. Of course, if both parties agree to do so, they may execute a renewal lease.

3. Generally nothing prohibits a landlord from shifting the cost of a utility (like water and sewage) onto the tenant, except that the tenant may have a legal claim if this violates a lease term. If the unit is under rent control, however, then the landlord must reduce the rent charged to reflect the reduction in services. This is done through a “reduction in services & facilities” petition, which the landlord must file with the Rent Administrator’s office.

*To find out if your unit qualifies for exemption, check the relevant section of DC’s Tenant Survival Guide.

Readers, what do you think? If you have any experience with the matter or additional insight, please respond in the comments.

Update: As some readers pointed out, Joel Cohn’s original answer omitted a key consideration regarding the maximum allowed rent increase. We have replaced the paragraph — point 1 — with Joel’s updated response.

See other articles related to: urbanturf reader asks, landlord

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_how_do_i_increase_rent/5675

9 Comments

  1. anon said at 2:03 pm on Wednesday June 20, 2012:

    what about for a non-rent controlled unit?

  1. Tom A. said at 2:18 pm on Wednesday June 20, 2012:

    DC has rent control? First I’m hearing it!

    Don’t we have among the top rents in the nation?

  1. Andi said at 4:00 pm on Wednesday June 20, 2012:

    Generally, a landlord who owns 4 or fewer units is not under rent control. Units do not have to be in the same building.

  1. Michael said at 4:21 pm on Wednesday June 20, 2012:

    Most jurisdictions that have rent control (DC, SF, NYC) have high rents. These things are not unrelated.

  1. Brandon Harris said at 5:34 pm on Wednesday June 20, 2012:

    I think what was meant to be quoted is that annual rent increase is capped at 3.6% for seniors and the elderly. For all others it is capped at CPI (3.6%) plus 2 percent.

    So that would mean a 5.6% increase for the majority of D.C. residents living in a rent controlled building.

    http://newsroom.dc.gov/show.aspx/agency/ota/section/2/release/23092/year/2012

  1. SMH said at 9:44 am on Tuesday June 26, 2012:

    As a landlord of 3 units, I am not limited by the rent control law (I have registered as exempt with city). I am writing a new lease and want to include that the rent will increase with the average DC rent increases. How/where can I find that information?
    But again, I am limited to the CPI+2.2% since it is not a rent controlled unit.
    Thanks!

  1. MM said at 12:42 am on Tuesday November 20, 2012:

    How much can a new owner increase rent for a tenant who still lives in a condo on a pre-existing month-to-month lease? How does rent control work when ownership changes?

  1. mona said at 4:43 pm on Tuesday November 27, 2012:

    A lease is durable through a sale. If your on a month to month then you are limited by that month to month agreement

  1. LH said at 11:46 am on Wednesday December 12, 2012:

    DC Superior Court has a Self Help Center where they will answer these kinds of questions for landlords and tenants alike.

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.



DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »

Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾