What to do when your landlord is raising rent mid-contract

Most standard tenancy agreements last for 2 years.

What’s not quite standard are the break clauses and whether you have a fixed or flexible lease. After all, not all rental agreements are the same and so there can be some confusion as to what the standard is for such things like raising rent, etc.

In this post, we explore landlords raising rent when a tenancy agreement is ongoing. Here are a few things you should know.

Can landlords raise rent mid-contract?

The short answer to this is, yes. But, have a look at your agreement. A standard fixed lease would have tighter rules on the 1 st year if any one party wants to terminate the lease. On the 2 nd year, either party can give their notice to break the
agreement. This is also an opportunity for the landlord to raise your rent or perhaps mention it casually to see if you’d be agreeable. (Some landlords do this to call your bluff and threaten eviction. But be careful, because some of them really mean what they say.)

So, what can you do about it?

If your landlord threatens eviction, contact your property agent for advice and look around. Start asking about the cost of rentals around you to get a good feel of whether your landlord is being reasonable.

No one wants to have to pay unnecessary costs but check the local market conditions before you make your move. If your landlord wants a couple more thousand dollars, this could be about the same you can expect to pay for elsewhere if you decide to move.

Next, negotiate.

Can your landlord perhaps reconsider if you both are open to signing a longer-term
lease? Can the rent be raised when you renew your contract? Can your landlord include utilities in the monthly expense (if this charged separately?) Find ways for you to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. It’s worth a shot.

Seek legal help

Not many would opt for this since it’s time-consuming and carries costly fees. This is probably only suitable for expensive rentals (we’re talking about rental costs in
the 100,000 HKD mark) where a landlord decides to change certain terms of the tenancy when the renter has already put in a significant amount of money in deposits and advance payments. But otherwise, if you can’t get along with your landlord, there’s no need to create more friction. A wiser option would probably be to move on.

Conclusion

So, if you’re wondering if your landlord can raise your rent mid-contract, the answer is yes. But there are ways to get around this. Try and negotiate with your landlord but make sure you look at the cost of other rentals in the area so you know what you’re getting yourself into. If you’re unable to come to agreeable terms, don’t worry. When one door closes, another one opens. You’re on a new adventure to
find your new flat.

Read our flat-hunting hacks:
» 5 things to think of before searching for a Hong Kong flat to rent
so you’re way ahead of the curve.
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