Yes, There’s a Right Way to Increase Your Tenant’s Rent
The pandemic rent freeze is coming to an end in many parts of the country, and you might be thinking about whether or not you want to increase your tenant’s rent. If your tenant is looking to renew their lease, you are in a good position to go ahead and raise their rent. However, keep in mind that we are still in the throes of the pandemic, so it is essential to consider and be empathetic to your tenant’s circumstances.
As a property manager, it is our responsibility to communicate effectively with our tenants and ensure everyone is on the same page. Of course, as a property owner, you have expenses as well. With the proper research and communication, both you and your tenants will be in an advantageous position.
Conducting a rent increase doesn’t have to be a tense and stressful process; there is a right way to increase the rent that will promote respect and professional interactions with the end goal of leaving you and your tenants at ease.
Understand the Law
Each province has its own set of rental laws. In Alberta, the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) applies to people who are renting and those involved in the rental process, including property management. As a landlord or property manager, it is important to familiarize yourself with the laws and tenants’ rights.
The RTA provides guidelines on how much a landlord can increase the rent by and the appropriate timeline to do so. There are several stipulations that the landlord can agree upon with their tenants before signing a lease, including a future rent increase. It is also vital that you review this before presenting the tenant with the rental increase notice to make sure the increase complies with applicable laws.
Tip: Currently, in Alberta, there is no limit on how much the rent can be increased. However, the property manager aka landlord can only increase the rent after a year has passed from: (1) the start of the tenancy, or (2) when the last rent increase was made.
Know the Market Rent
Speak with various property management companies in your surrounding area and gauge the average rent price for the neighborhood. You can look at other apartments for rent in the region and inquire that way as well. You will want to ensure your increase makes sense. If it is too high, you run the risk of losing tenants.
Make sure you inform your tenants that your rent increase is in line with others in the market. Open communication is vital. While the occurrences of being asked by a tenant for a rent increase are few and far between, if you explain the reason for the rent increase, it does help if the tenant understands that they are in the know.
The Importance of Proper Notice and Timing
Giving your tenant proper notice is crucial when conducting a rent increase. Prepare a written statement to inform them and ensure that you include all the details and possible incentives. If you can provide or the market dictates, a small discount for early lease renewal, it might serve you to consider it.
If a tenant has a periodic tenancy (which has no end date), the landlord must give the tenant a signed written notice of a rent increase. The notice is only legally required to state the date of the increase and it must be signed and dated by the landlord or landlord’s agent aka property manager.
- if a tenant has a monthly periodic tenancy (month-to-month lease), the tenant must receive at least 3 tenancy months notice in order to increase the rent.
- If a tenant has a weekly periodic tenancy (week-to-week lease), the tenant must receive at least 12 tenancy weeks notice of a rent increase.
For any other length of a periodic tenancy, the property management company and/or the landlord must give at least 90 days written notice.
Caveat: Fixed Term Leases
In Alberta, a fixed term residential tenancy lease has an end date. As such, based on the Residential Tenancies Act, the property manager and/or landlord has no requirement to give the tenant written notice of a rent increase ahead of time. However … in the spirit of positive communication, more communication on this topic … the better!
A good rule of thumb is to provide your tenants with approximately 60 days’ notice. This gives them time to prepare financially and enough notice to make arrangements if they are unable to meet the new financial requirements.
Even though there is no notice required, there are still certain rules the landlord and tenant must follow when it comes to fixed term leases.
We Can Help
The professionals at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. know how important it is that you have an open and respectable relationship with your tenants. We hope the tips that we have provided give you the confidence to approach this potentially stressful but necessary task with ease.
As one of the top property management companies in Calgary with close to 50 years in tenant placement and management, you can be assured we can offer you sound advice on the right way to handle a rental increase. To learn more about our residential property management services or discuss the management of your property, give us a call today at 403-237-8600 or contact us through our website.
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