We've got a tenant who is currently on a month to month lease after her 3 year lease rolled into a month to month. She's been great, but we need to raise the rent. How much notice do I need to give (I live in Pennsylvania). What's legal and what's proper?
Any advice on wording or form letters would be helpful too.
Unless you are in a rent controlled area there probably isn't a legal aspect. I think it is nice to give a tenant two months notice. How much to hit her with will depend on how far below market it is and what she is currently paying. A $5o increase is a lot different for a $500/mo rental than a $1500/mo rental. I like to tell the tenant in person and hand them a written notice while doing so. This makes it more personal for them and there is no miscommunication about what is going on.
Do the math so you can tell them what percent per year the increase is, it makes it look small when it has been a few years since rent was increased. For instance if the rent was 1000/mo, you were raising rent $50 and it had been 3 years "While we have had 4% inflation yearly the rent increase is only a 1.6% increase per year."
I've found @Brant Richardson comments to be one of the best ways to go about it. Face to face interaction in situations like this tend to ease the pain of the increase versus putting a letter on their door saying "rents going up!"
Also just a thought for future refereance... some of the property management companies I have workedwith have it stated in their leases "Upon fulfillment of the original lease term, unless terminated as set forth below, this lease agreement and all of its terms shall remain in effect, with the exception of rent increases, and shall automatically renew on a month-to-month basis, until prooper notice of termination is furnished. If resident wishes to remain on a month-to-month lease, a month-to-month fee will apply in the amount of $xx.xx per month."
Thanks to you both. Helpful thought about doing this in person (though our property is pretty far away and that may be impractical in this case). The % calculation is a great idea. Thanks for that!
@Dave Hyatt ...Since you don't live close, call tenant to discuss. In my area, I increase about 5% which is not a deal breaker. I also consider the property, tenant income, difficulty of renting property..Remember, turnover can be a BIG expense(fix up, lost of rent, theft during vacancy)....
Here's a good thread to read:
In PA on a month to month lease you would be required to give 30 days notice. And on a month to month either party can cancel the lease for no reason with 30 days notice. Notice of course should be in writing. It sounds like you have not raised the rent in over 3 years, it may be over due. I know that expenses go up every year, taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs, utilities, etc.
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