Can a landlord change you rent without you signing a new contract?

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Can a landlord change you rent without you signing a new contract?

Asked on October 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Montana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a landlord can charge a tenant rent without the tenant signing a new lease or rental agreement for the unit to be occupied. Such a charge would be based upon an oral agreement between the landlord and the tenant.

I recommend that in all landlord tenant leases there be a written agreement signed between the landlord and the tenant setting forth the terms of the lease (monthly rent, when due, term and the lik) dated and signed. Each party is to keep a copy of the written agreement for future need.

That way with a written agreement signed by the landlord and the tenant there is less chance of a dispute over the rental since everything is in writing. In an oral agreement for a rental, there is a greater chance for a dispute.

Good question.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, it sounds like you lease expired and you have not signed a new one. If that is the case and you have "held over" (remained in) the leased premises, you are now on an oral lease, which means you are a month to month tenant. As a month-to-month tenant, the landlord could terminate your tenancy with a month's notice; he may also change the terms of the tenancy, such as increasing the rent. Therefore, not signing the lease does not stop the landlord from changing or increasing the rent (if it did, no one would sign a new lease when the rent is going up!) and if you don't pay what the landlord wants, he could evict you.


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