Is it legal to increase rent by 25% after complaining about needed repairs?

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Is it legal to increase rent by 25% after complaining about needed repairs?

My roomate I are both disabled. We have had a broken waste water line under our porch for 3 weeks or more; the toilet won’t flush. Additionally, a few months before that I complained about my porch which subsequently fell down with my child on it (thank God she didn’t get hurt). When I paid the rent I complained about it; I gave my landlord a list of the things that needed repair. A day later  I received a letter stating that my rent would increase by $250 a month; making my rent $750 a month. This increase was due to maintenance of the property. I s this legal?

Asked on January 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Do you have a written lease? If you do, then the landlord cannot increase the rent except at the end of the term, when the lease is up for renewal. At that time, the landlord may increase rent for any reason.

If your housing is in some way subsidized or public housing, then the landlord may be bound by regulations and contracts (such as with housing authorities) which limit how much he can increase rent, when, and why.

If non-disabled in your situation with this landlord are not getting increases, you may be suuffering from housing discrimination.

All that said, as a general matter, a landlord may increase rent, as noted, when a lease is up--and if there's no written lease, so that it's a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord may increase rent on 30 days notice.


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