As of September, America’s rents were up 10.2% on a country-wide level compared to where they were the previous year. So, if your lease is expiring soon, your landlord might attempt to increase your rent. If you are worried that will happen, here are some important steps to take.
1. See how much of an increase you can afford
Maybe you are currently spending $1,000 each month on rent, and you are convinced your landlord will increase that to $1,100 once your lease is due. If that is an amount you could afford to spend, you might not need to panic.
Take a look at what your budget is to see if you have any wiggle room. If you are getting a raise next year but have an expiring lease in Feb., your higher paycheck might take effect before your housing costs increase, making a rent hike more manageable.
It also would not hurt to look at your savings account. If you cannot really afford a rent hike based on your salary but you love where you’re living and don’t want to relocate, dipping into your savings a little might not be unreasonable.
As a general rule, your income should cover all of your living expenses. But if it means staying in your home after a rent hike would include spending your whole paycheck and still ending up about $30 short every month, you might be okay to reach into savings a little if you have a lot of money socked away.
Right now, rents are up all across the board, but they might decrease in the future. So, you could tap your savings account to get through it, that is not a terrible thing if the cash is there and you have enough left over for any emergencies that may arise.
2. Talk to your landlord before accepting a new lease
Your landlord might have every intention of increasing your rent. But if you make it clear that is something you truly cannot afford, your landlord may reconsider — especially if you are a respectful tenant who has been paying the rent on time consistently.
Your landlord might also be willing to negotiate how much of an increase to your rent you will have to pay. Say your landlord’s plan is to increase your rent by $60 each month. If you explain that your income just cannot cover that much, your landlord might agree to a $30 raise instead.
3. Look into your moving options
If you are convinced your rent will be increased to a point where you just can’t afford it, now is the time to start searching for other rentals. It might be the case that relocating to a different home will do the trick of helping you find an affordable lease. Or you might need to look at downsizing your living space.
If you don’t have much furniture and you have helpful friends with large vehicles, you might be able to move for free.
Soaring rent prices can burden a lot of renters whose leases are coming up, especially when everyday costs like gas and groceries are also up. If you think you are in line for a rent increase, take these steps to make a plan that will help minimize that blow.
Author: Blake Ambrose