There are authorities that protect the tenant in cases where a landlord increases the rent without notice whatsoever. In some cases, however, it may be warranted. Some landlords will have genuine reasons for needing to get more out of their tenants. Usually, the tenants receive notice at least a full month before it is effective so that they can either prepare financially or find an alternative residence. Decreases are quite rare but they do happen. Below are a few of those reasons.
In a standard rental agreement, there will be a term that states that the rent is subject to an inflationary increase. This means that after five or ten years the landlord reserves the right to increase the rent by a specific percentage that will usually be outlined in the agreement. This increase is meant to cover the landlord as the inflation of the country increases and the buying power of the people decreases. It is meant to ensure that they are covered if the economy of the country worsens over time. You should pay attention to this as the tenant and keep it in mind so you are not blindsided. This is common in commercial real estate through some let the rent remain constant for a long while.
There are landlord associations in some hoods. These associations like to promote benchmarking so that competition remains fair. In this case, if a landlord was over or below the benchmark they will need to attempt to be at par with the other developments in the area. The thing about this kind of benchmarking means that the landlords will now compete on the kind of offerings they have. They will compete on quality of housing. The tenant wins. These associations are however not very common in the lower-income areas.
The government is always finding new ways to make money through taxes. That means that every once in a while there will be a bill to tax different types of income. If the target falls on landlords, you best believe that they will find a way to put this burden on the tenants. Many will find ways to evade like refusing to let tenants list their plot number on their own tax returns or quoting less on the rent income returns than they actually got. When all these avenues fail then they will want to pass along the new expense.
The economy determines the fate of many businesses. To the landlord, the rental units are his business. If the economy is bad and unsupportive of the citizens then the landlord might need to increase the rent for their own sake. However, some landlords have been found to decrease the rent as a means of relieving the tenants from the heavy economic burden and supporting those who have been hit by the wave of unemployment. This is one of the few cases where decreasing of the rent happens.
- Cost of utilities
If all you pay at the end of the month is your rent, no power or water bill then do not be surprised if this is used as a reason. The fleeting nature of the economy drives the cost of things like power to higher levels. When this happens, the landlord has to find a way to take care of this additional cost. This is especially important if it seems the new cost of power will be permanent. The landlord will either have the tenants pay their own utility bills or they will mark up the rent by a percentage.
- Better Package
The incoming generation of enters expects more. A landlord may be looking to offer more like a security guard at the gate, internet or other services. This will cost money every month and the landlord could decide to increase the rent so that these new offerings are accommodated. In many cases, the landlord will invite the tenants to weigh in on whether increasing the rent for these new offerings will be welcome.
Different caliber tenant
Every landlord has their own target tenant. A vision of the kind of person they want living in their building. In some cases, the market changes and the landlord decides to change their target tenant for better returns perhaps. In this case, the landlord will spruce up the building. They will tile the floors and clean up the hallways. They will change the aesthetic of the building and add features like CCTV. This is meant to attract a high-end tenant than was previously targeted. The landlord might increase the rent so that everyone in the building is on the same level. In other cases, a landlord may have everyone move out to allow for a radical redo of the building.
Often if the responsibility of utility cost lies on the landlord, they will want to limit how many people live in a single unit. They will want to ensure that the expense remains as low as possible. The more people live in a house the more water will be consumed and maybe even more power. This is especially common in SQ situations. If the landlord finds that an extra person has moved in, they will want to increase the rent for a little bit to at least cover the utility expense of that extra person.
If someone has built their rental property but the uptake is slow with barely half capacity a full year after completion then the landlord has to take measures to solve this issue. One of those measures is to decrease the rent to attract more people into the building.
As a tenant, you are entitled to notice before the rent is increased. The landlord should also provide a plausible explanation for this. If you decide that you would rather move and find a new place then the landlord should support that. Meanwhile, we all survive.