Q: My rent has been going up every few months; it's now 25 percent higher than last year. What can I do to stop the increases? Can the landlord raise it as often as he wants? A: Rents have been steadily rising, giving landlords in non-rent-controlled areas free reign to raise rents. When you have a lease in effect, a specific rental amount is usually listed and protected by the life of the contract. For tenants without a lease, the best way to level the playing field is to request a written lease. One-year leases may be your best bet, although two-year leases are not unheard of. Many landlords prefer the security of knowing a tenant is going to stay put and not move out, which can lead to high turnover expenses. A simple letter requesting a new lease needs to be persuasive. Assuming you're a reliable tenant with a low complaint history, you may have a chance of nailing down a set rental amount. If you are offered a lease, watch for leases that offer a "discount" that may end during...
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