If my girlfriend has been renting a house for over 2 years with no formal lease, can her landlord raise the rent by 38% because I have now moved in?

UPDATED: May 8, 2012

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If my girlfriend has been renting a house for over 2 years with no formal lease, can her landlord raise the rent by 38% because I have now moved in?

The current rent is $650, new rent is proposed at $900. Reasons given are recent necessary home repairs and my occupancy. We store quite a bit of this persons furniture and personal belongings not only in the attic and basement but also in the kitchen and living room. She also sends this person his mail by an overnight delivery service every month because he does not want to formally change his address, even though he lives and works in another state. We also maintain the lawn and put up with bugs and faulty electricity.

Asked on May 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Without a written lease, your girlfriend is a month-to-month tenant on an oral lease. That means that the landlord has the right to terminate the tenancy, or change the terms of it (such as raising the rent) on 30 days notice (just like your girlfriend has the right to move out on 30 days notice). If the home is not subject to some rent control regulation and is not subsidized (e.g. by Section 8 grants), there is no restriction on what the landlord may ask for rent--it is a free market. So your landlord can seek to increase rent by 38% for any reason (including you moving it), and if you and your girlfried do not want to pay that much, your recourse is to seek other housing.

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