Your landlord might look like he has complete control of your rent at his every whim, but thanks to the rent control policy, you now have a contingency against these situations. Rent control regulations frequently do more than limit the amount of rent that landlords may charge. Some of these regulations also restrict landlords’ ability to cancel month-to-month rental agreements or not renew leases.
However, rent control laws are notoriously complicated, and each one is unique, making it hard to discuss them in full. Many rent control laws, however, have limits, regulations, and exceptions similar to those discussed below. To make the most of them, take a look at the 101 of rent control policy right here.
What Types of Property Are Subjected to Rent Control?
Rent control does not apply to all rental housing in a rent-controlled region. The following constructions are exempted by laws :
Owner-occupied new structures with no more than two to four units
single-family houses, condos, and residences in planned unit developments
luxury apartments renting for more than a specified price.
Protecting Yourself With Vacancy Decontrol Statutes
When one tenant goes out and a new one moves in, landlords in most rent-controlled regions can raise the rent as much as they wish. This feature, known as “vacancy decontrol” or “vacancy rent ceiling adjustment,” indicates that rent control applies to a certain rental unit only when a specific renter is present.
When a tenant departs willingly or is evicted for a lawful or “just” reason, the rental unit is no longer subject to rent control until the landlord sets the new rate. In summary, new renters in a city with “vacancy decontrol” should not expect to pay the same rent as the previous tenant.
In addition to yearly increases, most rent control boards enable landlords to petition for a rent increase based on an increase in operational costs, such as increased taxes or expenses related to renovating or bringing the property up to code. Some state rules permit landlords to “bank” annual increases and apply them all at once later.
Other Protections Provided by Rent Control
Rent control legislation can sometimes impose requirements that protect renters in ways that are unrelated to rent. Check your state’s laws to determine whether any of the following safeguards apply to you.
- Security deposits: Some rent control laws specify how landlords must keep security deposits. Other regulations may compel landlords to keep security deposits in separate bank accounts or in a federally insured bank.
- Special notice requirements: Most jurisdictions have rules governing how much notice a landlord must provide to a tenant before increasing rent or terminating the tenancy. Additional notification requirements are frequently included in local rent control legislation.
- Relocation assistance: When landlords terminate a tenancy in order to move in themselves, they may be compelled to provide financial aid to the outgoing tenant, which can amount to thousands of dollars.
Where to Get Assistance About Rent Control
Your local rent control board is a good source of information. Cities and states that have rent control keep websites with a lot of information, including the text of the law and maybe a synopsis outlining its major points.
Almost every city with a rent control ordinance has at least one active and outspoken tenant’s organization. These watchdogs keep an eye on court rulings and potential ballot amendments that may have an impact on the ordinance. Most importantly, these tenant groups’ websites generally explain the ordinance and how it operates, maybe with a series of FAQs. Some even offer free or low-cost legal advice or services.
Rent control is one of the best protections out there for tenants, especially against unethical, greedy, or vindictive landlords. However, the truth is there aren’t many people that are well informed on the laws and regulations of rent control. And consequently, these people make easy prey for malpractices in rental and the landlord business.
That is why a basic understanding of the policy does more good than harm for you, especially if you are inexperienced in renting places. Instead of running around like a headless chicken, seek out good, valuable information in this article, as well as other reliable information channels.
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