If I’m on a month-to-month lease and the wall heater needs to be replaced, can the landlord pass the cost on to me by raisning my rent?

UPDATED: Nov 12, 2012

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If I’m on a month-to-month lease and the wall heater needs to be replaced, can the landlord pass the cost on to me by raisning my rent?

The cost is $3,500. Can he do that?

Asked on November 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A landlord can only directly (see below) charge you the cost of the water heater if--

1) you (or your family, guests, etc.) broke the water heater; or

2) your lease makes you responsible for this cost.

However, if you lease is up for renewal, or if you are on a month-to-month lease (written or oral/verbal), so that the landlord may raise the rent on a month's notice, then unless you are protected by rent control laws or by some term in a written lease limiting rent increases, the landlord may increase your rent. And since he may legitatimately increase it at this times, it doesn't matter "why" he's doing it--because of the cost of the water heater, because his taxes were raised, or because he wants to save for a vacation in Taihiti, for example; he can, limited only by rent control or lease provisions restricting increases, raise your rent for any reason when its term is up or on appropriate notice for a month-to-month lease.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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