What is a landlord’s right to raise rent due to a lease violation?

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What is a landlord’s right to raise rent due to a lease violation?

We told our tenants that we didn’t have a problem putting in a wood stove. But it was not put in with our knowledge. We do not have any idea who installed it or if it is old new or certified for a mobile home. We toll them that there rate will raise to $750 on the first of this month which gave them 60 days. They refused and said they have a year lease and we can’t raise it.

Asked on January 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) If there is a written lease in place, you cannot raise the rent during the term of the lease (unless the lease itself states that it can be raised  under certain circumstances.)

2) If you feel that the tenants have materially violated the lease, then you could bring an action to evict them--that is the remedy for a material, or significant, lease violation. So you can leave them as tenants or you can evict them, but you can't raise the rent mid-lease. (When this lease is up, you could refuse to re-rent to them, or propose a much higher rent.)

3) Note that if you told the tenants they could put in a wood stove but did not at that time put limits on it--i.e. you simply told them they could put in a stove, but did not tell them it had to be with your knowledge and pre-approval--then they have not done anything wrong and you most likely cannot take any action.


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