Landlord/Renter Question

I got a notice on my door today that informed me that my apartment complex’s bookkeepers noticed that my rent had gone up six months ago and nobody ever told me about it. I signed a year’s lease at the time, was never informed that I’d be paying more, and every month since then I’ve been paying the old amount and have been given receipts and nothing was said, every month.

So now they want me to give them $160 for the rent of those six months past. Which is not that big of a deal, I don’t really have a problem paying it, and I will pay it.

I would like to know just for my information when I contact the office tomorrow to talk about it, what the legal deal is. The only information I’ve been able to google is about when you’re told about the increase and it was agreed on. I was never told. I won’t be hiring an attorney for this or anything.


It seems to me that a contract is exactly what is written on the paper that the parties sign. And every lease I’ve ever seen has the rent written on it. So, for the bookkeepers to say that your rent went up six months ago is factually inaccurate. They may have meant for your rent to go up, but if your new lease or lease continuation had the same number on it, your rent did not go up. And I’m sure that there’s a very anxious bookkeeper at the rental office who is hoping very much that you pay up without a fuss.

If you’re planning on moving out at the end of this lease, and you’re not pushing any grey areas of the agreement (like locking your bike to the decorative fence), and you could find a good use for $320 this year, I’d suggest outright refusing to pay the extra money.

If you do want to stay, or they could crack down on you in other ways, or you don’t want to make trouble for the absent-minded bookkeeper, I’d suggest opening with a refusal to pay and negotiating with them to waive this $160 and pay the new rent from now on.

Well, I think I just answered my own question. I went and found the copy of the lease I signed this year and there it is right there, the rent went up. I know that it wasn’t mentioned during the signing, and I always just go in there and she holds up every page for me to sign and I guess I didn’t exactly inspect the stupid thing. You’d think she could’ve said something.

From what I’ve found under Arizona law, the fact that they accepted partial payment for those six months means that they can’t evict me for not paying it. So that’s in my favor, but I guess I’ll go ahead and pay it and lesson learned for me. :smack:

They didn’t call your attention to the increase at the signing, then it took six months to advise you that you had been deficient? I think I’d at least point this out and try to negotiate a lesser amount. You might check the AZ. landlord/tenant law, in some jurisdictions the landlord is required to give advanced notice prior to any increase, to give the tenant the opportunity to give their own notice and move, if they don’t want to accept the increase. Good tenants are hard to find, they don’t hold all the cards here.

Sounds to me like you really owe them $160. No reason to weasel out of it or negotiate. Be a mensch.

I encourage you to be nice about it and see what they can do to have this oversight (because that’s all it really is if you pay up) NOT affect your credit. If they do something as simple as mark you as being late on rent or delinquent or something, it may negatively affect you credit score.

Does that translate to doormat? At the very least, I would try to negotiate. If she just signed the new lease last month, I might understand there was some confusion, but they let it go for six months and now they expect her to accept responsibility for their error. Even if they refuse to negotiate, she will at least establish that she’s not a pushover. As I said before, good tenants are hard to come by, a smart landlord will understand this and treat them fairly, maybe even give them the benefit of the doubt.

Let that be a lesson to you. :smiley:

Seriously. I read every contract before I sign. Every page. When I lived in an apartment, it used to bother the hell out of management because they used boilerplate contracts (except for a few minute parts that they want to change every year) and just wanted me to sign the renewal without reading. It also kept management on a sort leash the rest of the year because they knew I wouldn’t take crap from them if there was ever a problem. I also got great service from them all the time as well.

An hour or two for 12 months of … satisfaction/comfort/assurance.

Most profitable 2 hours ever?

Did you see the part in the OP where I said I was going to pay it? Thanks for the advice, but I had no intention of not paying it. The question was asked because before I called her to talk about it, I wanted to know where I stood legally. And legally, it seems that I have the upper hand, actually. They’ve accepted partial payment for 6 months, and once a landlord accepts partial payment they can’t evict you for non-payment. As I said, I will go ahead and pay it (maybe not all at once but it’ll get paid), but only because I may want to renew come February again.

Thanks anyway.