No tenant enjoys a rent increase.
Learn the basics of how to write a rent increase letter (without alienating your tenants).
If you’ve owned rental property for more than a couple of years, you already know that raising the rent is just part of being a landlord.
Your tenants, on the other hand, might not be as understanding.
But inflation, the real estate market, and unexpected events may make it necessary to increase the rent from time to time. How do you do this without driving your tenants away?
As a property management company, we’ve had to address this situation countless times. In this article, we’ll show you how to write a rent increase letter so you can increase the rent without increasing tenant turnover.
Can I Raise the Rent On My Tenants?
You are perfectly within your rights to raise the rent to keep up with inflation or fluctuations in the housing market. But this doesn’t mean you can increase costs whenever you’d like.
Rent increases should coincide with lease renewal. If your tenant is only 6 months through a 1-year lease, you will have to wait until the rest of the year is up to send a rent increase letter.
Similarly, you may not raise your tenants’ rent as an act of retaliation. Rent increases must be done in good faith and with the caution that your tenants can file a lawsuit against you if they can prove you are retaliating against them.
While there is no legal limit to how much you can increase rent, we advise you to raise it no more than 5% a year. Any more than that, and you risk losing your tenants.
Give Advance Notice of a Rent Increase
While Florida law does not specify how much advance notice you must give, it is considered customary to give your tenants time to come to terms with the change.
Most experts (us included!) follow the same guidelines provided for terminating a tenant’s lease: 15 days’ notice for monthly leases, and 60 days’ notice for yearly. Giving a “heads up” allows your tenant sufficient time to financially prepare—or locate alternative housing if the rent is out of their budget.
This being said, expect some pushback, especially if it has been a while since you’ve updated your rent amount. You do not have to cave in, even if they have been wonderful tenants. Remember why you felt the need to raise the rent in the first place and stick to your guns.
How to Write a Rent Increase Letter
As a landlord, you’re probably concerned about turnover. You want to know how to write a rent increase letter without driving your tenants away.
While there is no method that can guarantee your tenants will stay, there are some steps you can take to avoid alienating them.
1. Put It In Writing
The first rule of writing a rent increase letter is to put it in writing. And no, an email doesn’t count.
Draw up your letter the old fashioned way (on real paper) and either hand-deliver it or send it via certified mail.
2. Stay Professional
It might be tempting to wax poetic about your own financial situation and the reasons behind the increase, but do your best to resist.
Keep the letter neutral and professional, without emotional commentary. You might think you’re strengthening your position by explaining yourself but, in fact, the opposite is true. Your tenants will instead look for “work arounds” to your reasons and start up a negotiation with you.
3. Use a Template
There are literally hundreds of free rent increase letter templates available online. Using a template ensures that you include the necessary information without any extra details.
However, you are welcome to write one yourself if you wish. It would be a good idea to have your attorney review it before you send it out.
Sample Rent Increase Letter [Template]
RE: Notice of Rent Increase
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that as of [DATE], your monthly rent will be increasing by [AMOUNT], which will bring your monthly rent to [TOTAL AMOUNT]. Late fees will [remain the same / increase to $___ ].
Your lease is up for renewal on [DATE]. Please inform us whether you intend to renew your lease by [DATE].
Make It Easy With a Property Manager
Navigating the landlord-tenant relationship (including how to write a rent increase letter) can leave you feeling like you’re on thin ice. But having a property manager to take over the daily tasks of a rental property will put you on solid footing.
At American Home Team Realty, our full-service approach to residential property management allows you to enjoy all the benefits of a passive income without any of the stress that usually comes with being a landlord.
From screening potential tenants to taxes and bookkeeping, we’ll be at your side every step of the way.
Curious to learn more? Contact us today to see how we can help make your passive income dreams a reality.