If you are moving to a new city or looking at places to rent, there is a high chance you might have heard about the real estate buzzword- rent control.
Rent control is a set of laws put in place to control the price on the rent that can be charged for residential housing. These laws are enforced either by the country, state, county, or municipality.
Benefits of rent control
The benefits of rent control extend beyond the regulation of monthly rental cost. Here are some of the benefits associated with rent control.
1. Controls the monthly rent
The rent control puts a cap on the rent amount that can be increased by the landowner. He/she can raise the rent only within the range permitted by law.
2. Makes housing affordable
As the rent increase is regulated, it helps to keep it within an affordable range for the people renting it.
3. Ensure proper maintenance of the building
Under the laws of rent control, the landlord cannot charge high rent for substandard housing. This gives a push for the house owners to keep their buildings in good condition.
Rent control in Ohio
Unfortunately, not all states in the United States have rent control in place. As per the data available till 2019, only 5 states, namely Oregon, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland, and the District of Columbia, have areas in which there is some residential rent control put in place.
There are 37 states in the US that either preempt or prohibit rent control and 8 states that allow the cities in its state to implement rent control. However, none of the cities have enacted it.
Sadly, Ohio happens to be one among the list of states without a rent control statute in place. The landlords can increase the rent by any amount as there is no cap. Although they cannot do so as they fancy. There are a few guidelines that must be followed to increase the rent.
- If there is a lease in place, the owner can increase the rent only after the expiration of the lease. For example, you have leased an apartment for 1 year at $1000/month. The landlord cannot raise the rent before the end of that year.
- If you do not have a lease and have opted for monthly rent payments, the landlord must provide you with a written notice stating he/she will be increasing the rent henceforth. In most places, a 30 day notice period is served. However, it can be 15 days if you usually pay the rent after every 15 days.
Improper rent increase notice
Wondering what your options are if your landlord does not give you proper notice? Well, a notice about the increase in rent becomes legally binding 30 days after receiving it. So if such a notice has not been received by you, you as a tenant are legally required to pay only the existing rent by the due date.
An oral notice given by the landlord is not binding. Therefore if your landowner has only informed you verbally about the increase in rent, you do not have to pay the additional rent. Once the landowner sends you proper written notice, you will have to pay the extra rent after the passage of 30 days, starting from the day you got it.
Some tenants do not contest an oral notice. In such cases, tenants must ensure that the increased rent is documented by drafting a new rental agreement. Make sure to include any new terms agreed by both parties, along with the revised rent. It is highly recommended to get your landlord to sign, date, and send the document back to you. This will be extremely helpful in the case of any dispute that may arise later.
Illegal grounds for rent increase
According to the Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law, no landlord is allowed to increase the rent as a way of retaliating against the tenant. If found guilty of such behavior, the landlord will be held liable for any damages incurred to the tenant and also pay for the attorney fees borne by the tenant.
The tenant can complain about retaliation by the landowner if the increase in rent happens after the tenant makes a complaint to the landowner, public official, or joined with other tenants to bargain about the terms of the rental agreement collectively.
The tenant can also complain against the increase in rent if he/she suspects any discriminatory practices being followed by the landowner.
Given the present economic situation, an increase in rent can be a real blow to your finances. So protect yourself by learning more about the Ohio rent increase laws.
- Rent control: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent_regulation
- Ohio landlords tenant law: https://ipropertymanagement.com/laws/ohio-landlord-tenant-rights