4 ways to avoid a rent increase

Rents are up all over the metro Atlanta area and there is no sign of it getting better any time soon. 

So if you are under a lease now, how can you control what might happen when it’s time for renewal?  Specifically, is there anything YOU can do to avoid a rent increase this year? Real estate expert John Adams tells us you can’t veto the increase, but with a little luck and the right moves, you might be able to control the increase.

There is an unwritten rule in the landlord's operating manual that says: “Raise the rent whenever you can do so.”  It’s simply a matter of supply and demand, and right now, demand is high. 

So, you can expect your rental rate to go up when it comes time to renew. But there are things you can do now to limit or even eliminate a rent increase when your lease term is up.

1.  Pay your rent on time (or even early).

2.  Don’t be a pest.

  • The second biggest hassle in your landlord’s life is when you call and say that a light bulb is burned out and you can’t reach it. Or maybe you’re worried that the hot water isn’t quite as hot as you’d like it. Or maybe the neighbor’s kid just got a saxophone for his birthday and you don’t enjoy the incessant braying.

3.  Don’t have pets.

  • More than two out of three households have pets. Animals are great. They love you unconditionally, they never judge, and they don’t condemn, but they tend to cause problems in a rental property. First, they can cause damage to floors, walls, doors, and woodwork.  They can ruin rugs, cause permanent stains, and leave bad odors wherever they go.  Again, under the concept of flying under the landlord’s radar beam, you will draw less attention and less scrutiny if you have no pets. 

4.  Rent to Own.

  • Let’s just face facts: an owner or a landlord is highly motivated to get as much revenue as possible from the asset you call home.  And as long as you want to live in someone else’s real estate, you’re going to have to pay for it, and that amount is going to go up over time.
  • The ultimate solution is to eventually own the house you live in, and even if that seems impossible now, it is a status to which you should aspire.
  • Be constantly searching for rental opportunities that might allow you the option to purchase the property over a period of time. It’s called rent to own or lease with an option to buy.

The best of these allow you to use a portion of the rent you pay as a credit toward the eventual purchase price. Typically these arrangements feature a fixed rent for 36 months, with an option to purchase at the conclusion.  

This gives you time to get your credit straightened out and your down payment saved up.  That will make your loan approval a lot easier when the time comes. In addition, you get to know the house you may be buying rather well.  

While the price can be set now, it is more often determined at the time of purchase by an appraisal, so you can expect to pay a fair market price at the time when you close.

BOTTOM LINE:  For as long as you rent, you can expect to pay a rental fee every month. Yes, there are things you can do to make yourself attractive as a tenant, but the ultimate solution to rental increases is to own your own home.