After you score the perfect Clearwater apartment, it can be tough to think about a price increase at the end of your lease term. Each Clearwater apartment complex will have different policies and expectations. Also, each year varies, so you may get an increase one year but not the next. You can always ask your landlord or property manager if they know what your rent might be if you renew your lease – but they may not know if you ask too far in advance.
On average, yearly rent increases are around 3%. If you've been in the Tampa Bay area for a few years, a rent increase won't come as a shock to you. In 2012-2013, the Tampa Bay area market was in the top five for rental increases based on percentages. However, the market does seem to be slowing down a bit, which means that your rent might not go up as much as it has in past years.
The time of year that your lease expires can have a big impact on your next rent price. If your lease expires in the August or other summertime window, you can expect a higher increase than if your lease expires in the winter.
If your lease is a month-to-month agreement, your landlord can raise the rent anytime that they wish to as long as they give you one month's notice. Some leases also provide for a mid-lease adjustment.
Your landlord is not allowed to raise the rent on your unit based on your race, nationality, gender, religion, and several other protected differences, or to use a rent increase to try to force you to move out. Your landlord is also not allowed to raise rent based on their feelings towards you. For example, if you have started a tenants organization or made a complaint, your landlord can't “get back at you” through a rent increase. If you feel that your rent has been raised unfairly due to one of these circumstances, you can contact Tampa's Housing and Urban Development department.
If you feel that the rent increase is unfair, you have three options. You can simply accept the rent increase. You can also research what other comparable apartments in Clearwater are being rented for in your area. If you find that they are going at much cheaper rates, you can move to one of them. You can also present this information to your landlord and ask for a more fair rental price. The threat of you leaving may (if you are a good tenant) prompt him/her to reconsider the rent hike.
Rent increases are not really a fun topic, but I hope you will be prepared when that time rolls around. Hopefully, you've found a great Clearwater apartment that will be worth a rent increase, if you are given one.