What is Rent Control Law?

Rent collection is the act of a landlord or property manager gathering the monthly rent payment from their tenant on a set date as outlined in their lease agreement.

Rent control laws dictate the amount a landlord can charge for rent and lease renewals. Some of this legislation also regulates rental increases during and after tenancies. Here are some examples of how state, county, or local governments can control rent. 

  • Rent freezes: Rent freezes, also called rent ceilings, prohibit raising rent for any reason.
  • Vacancy control: Vacancy control allows rent increases between tenants, but local laws restrict the amount of rent a landlord can charge between vacancies. 
  • Vacancy decontrol: Vacancy decontrol restricts rental pricing increases during a tenancy, but once a renter moves out, the landlord can adjust the rent to the market rate. 
  • Annual limits: Sets a maximum percentage increase landlords can raise yearly rent.

While municipalities often enact these measures, Oregon and California control rent at the state level. However, there are many exceptions in California. 

It’s important to note that these laws can change rapidly, so we encourage landlords and renters to stay updated on their local legislation.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Rent control laws help make areas with rapidly raising rents more affordable to low- and moderate-income renters. Older people and disabled persons with fixed incomes also benefit because they’re less likely to be displaced.

For landlords, the prospect of having their rental income capped by government organizations might not feel like a fair deal. However, with a fixed rental rate, renters are incentivized to stay in their current housing and pay rent on time to avoid rental increases when moving to new housing. Long-term tenants who pay on time mean landlords don’t have to deal with vacancies or the hassle of marketing and screening new tenants.

Be aware that many rent control laws dictate impacts on lease renewals rather than new tenants. So landlords often have the opportunity to raise rents during a vacancy — it depends on where the property is located. 

How TurboTenant Can Help

TurboTenant offers state-specific lease agreements to help landlords navigate the murky waters of rent control and other rental laws. With TurboTenant lease agreements, you can be sure to meet the legal requirements of leasing rent-controlled properties. 

In just 15 minutes or less, you can build a lease agreement that complies with state-specific laws, and TurboTenant includes E-signatures to make the process convenient for you and your tenant.

States with Rent Control Laws

While not identical, states with rent control laws share some common provisions regarding how much landlords can increase rent and under what circumstances. These states include: 

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How do rent control laws impact the rental market?

Rent control laws have the potential for both positive and negative impacts on the rental market. On the plus side, rent control laws provide affordable housing, increase tenant stability, and preserve existing affordable housing.

On the other hand, rent controls can reduce housing supply, decrease tenant mobility, and lead to deterioration of housing quality. 

How are rent control rates determined?

Depending on the specific location and type of rent control implemented, the way government agencies set rent controls varies. Some municipalities may choose annual percentage increases, formula-based approaches, or inflation-specific calculations.

Housing authorities may implement a combination of these factors as well. 

Does Rent Control affect all rental properties?

No – where the housing is located dictates whether or not it is, or even can be, rent-controlled. In fact, the majority of states prohibit rent-control measures. 

What happens if a landlord violates rent control laws?

Landlords can face a range of penalties depending on the severity of the rent control violation. These include fines, refunds on illegal rent, legal action, and criminal charges.

What is a rent-controlled apartment?

It’s a hot commodity in New York City, for starters. But in general, it’s a housing unit subject to government regulations that limit the amount of rent a landlord can charge for rent.

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