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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 29978
Experience:  JA Mentor
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A new company recently purchased my apt. complex and raised

Customer Question

A new company recently purchased my apt. complex and raised the rent. Now, a couple of months later, my lease is up and a new lease will increased the rent again. Both increases are approx. 140.00 per month. Is this legal or can they do that because of two separate issues: 1. New ownership. 2. Lease renewal.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
They cannot raise the rent because of a transfer of ownership. The new owner takes the lease at the same terms as the original. You could actually sue for a refund of the $140/month you've paid already.
When a lease is up, the landlord CAN raise the rent as much as they want, provided they give proper notice. Proper notice is 60 days, if you've lived there at least one year. For tenants who've been in a property less than one year, 30 days notice is enough. But any time rent increases 10% or more, they have to give 60 days notice. Note that if they gave the appropriate notice, whatever rent they're now asking for is allowed, even though what you're currently paying isn't, as long as they put it in terms of "The new rent will be $X per month." See Cal. Civ. Code, Section 827.
Also, if you happen to live in one of the few cities that has rent controls, they can't raise your rent more than the amount allowed by your city.
They're also not allowed to evict you for suing them because they broke the law, although it would be understandable if you wanted to move elsewhere. These cases are typically brought in Small Claims Court, which does not require a lawyer and is fairly user-friendly.
Another option is to see if they will agree to apply the overpaid rent from the past months toward the rent due for next month. You could try sending them a letter via certified mail and see, although there's not time for that if you're moving at the end of August.
It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.