How Much Can a New Owner Raise the Rent, Part Two

  • November 27th 2012

by Shilpi Paul

How Much Can a New Owner Raise the Rent, Part Two: Figure 1

Last week, UrbanTurf tapped Joel Cohn, the Legislative Director of DC’s Office of the Tenant Advocate, to help answer the question of how much a new owner can increase the rent on a tenant who still lives on a pre-existing month-to-month lease. Cohn’s initial response assumed that the unit was under rent control; a commenter wondered if there were any limitations on units that were not bound by rent control.

We reached out to Cohn again, who gave us this prompt reply:

If the unit is not under rent control, generally speaking, the only limits on the amount and the frequency of rent increases are the terms of the rental agreement itself.

The D.C. Court of Appeals has indicated that there is an exception to this general rule. Specifically, the landlord cannot use the threat of an exorbitant rent increase to deprive the tenant of the ability to meaningfully exercise a statutory right. The key case in point is the tenant’s right to continue the tenancy on a month-to-month basis following the expiration of the initial lease term. Thus, the landlord may not threaten too exorbitant a rent increase to compel the tenant to sign a renewal lease. How exorbitant is [too exorbitant] is up to the Court.

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how_much_can_a_new_owner_raise_the_rent_part_two/6337.

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