Apartment rental agreement

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    Is a rental agreement benefit the tenant or the landlord? Does the term of the agreement prevent the landlord from raising the rent during that time or is it designed to prevent the tenant from leaving before the end of the term (i.e. the tenant is stuck renting the apartment until the end of any term – original and renewal – and cannot move out)?

    Can the landlord raise the rent by any amount that he likes once the original rental agreement expires (assuming it is not rent controlled)? How do renters keep their rent from jumping too high?


    1. Depends what it says.

    2. Depends what it says.

    3. Depends what it says, and where you live.

    4. By putting things to that effect in the rental agreement, or by living somewhere where there is a statutory limit of by how much they can raise it.


    Some rental agreements benefit the non-renter, who would have rented it if the landlord hadn’t made a deal with the current tenant.


    popa: Thank you.

    1. Generally speaking, is having a rental agreement something that the landlord would want or something the tenant would want? (The alternative being renting without any agreement.)

    2. If the tenant leaves early does the landlord have any recourse to enforce the term short of suing in court?

    3. How is it relevant what it says? My question was what happens once the agreement term expires – which presumably means there is no more active agreement that would prevent the landlord from raising the rent with any arbitrary amount he desires.

    4. Same as “3”. How can a rental agreement limit the raise after the agreement expiration?


    1. Generally speaking, I think it’s designed to benefit the landlord. The less turnover the management has, the less money they lose during the in between time when the apartment is not being rented by anyone. Except in super tight/competitive markets, tenants might prefer to rent “at will” without a minimum term lease so that they can decide to move at any time.

    2. What do you mean by “short of suing in court”? Any recourse the landlord would have would be legal in nature. If you mean something that’s not legal, well, I guess they could send threatening letters or something, but if they really want to make sure the tenant pays up, lawyers generally need to get involved. That does not, however, mean that it will end up literally as a civil case in a physical courtroom.

    3. The market sets the rent. If the landlord sets the rent arbitrarily high, the tenants will all move elsewhere.


    1) It’s generally more advantageous for the landlord because without it, the landlord is at a greater risk.

    2) Same way anything else is enforced.

    3) The agreement should state what happens at the end of the rental period. (The agreement doesn’t expire, but the terms of the agreement change.)

    4) Same as 3.


    jf02/Dash: Wouldn’t the renter benefit from a contract that a) locks in the price preventing an early increase and b) prevents the landlord from forcing him to move prior to the end of the contract? These seem to be common reasons for a rental contract.


    In theory yes, but in reality it is more difficult to evict a tenant without a lease so if the tenant simply doesn’t agree to the increase they would only be responsible under the original terms for however long they stayed until the landlord successfully evicted them.


    The agreement itself will usually give more protection for the landlord. Local laws, however, often protect the tenants, and are only binding when there is a lease document signed. If there’s no lease, you may not legally be considered a tenant. It pays to have a lease so that you have the protection of the city/town you live in.


    The locality is NYC, for whatever differences that would make.

    If the landlord gives the tenant a choice of the term of the lease, say either 2 years or 4 years, would the tenant benefit from a longer or a shorter term?


    4 years is a long time for a lease. It depends on the early termination clause and if the tenant expects to be living in the same place for 4 years.

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