How Much Can a Landlord Raise Rent in Tennessee?

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There are no rent control laws in Tennessee and no statute stating whether your landlord must give you notice of a rent increase. This means that your landlord can increase your rent whenever they want to. 
With the housing market on the rise, rent prices are going up across the US. Rent in Tenessee may not be as expensive as in major metropolises like New York or Los Angeles, but it has still increased by approximately 20% from 2021. As your expenses increase, you may be wondering how you’re going to be covering your new rent, or if your landlord has followed Tenessee’s Landlord-Tenant laws. 
Fortunately, the car, home, and renters insurance super app Jerry has put together this guide to everything you need to know about rent prices in Tennessee.  And, if you’re looking to save money by lowering your insurance costs, Jerry’s got you covered for that too!
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How much can a landlord raise rent in Tennessee?

In Tenessee, there is no limit to how much a landlord can charge or how much they can raise your rent. 
Some states, like New York, have rent control laws that limit how much your landlord can increase your rent every year. As a landlord-friendly state, Tennessee does not have a cap on how much your landlord can charge you. Even if it’s an increase from $1,500 to $3,000, there is no explicit law that prevents them from doing so. 
While this may seem alarming to renters, it is unlikely that your landlord will surprise you with a dramatic rent increase. Rent is steadily increasing across the country, but the prices that landlords set are often dictated by the housing and rental market. Stepping outside of those boundaries and charging an unrealistic amount of money per month would only lead to landlords losing tenants and potential future customers

How much notice does a landlord need to give before they raise the rent?

Tennessee law does not clearly say whether landlords are required to give notice to their tenants of rental increases—so they technically aren’t legally obligated to do so. 
However, your lease may give you a better idea of how your landlord may approach this situation. For instance, your lease may have a clause that prevents your landlord from raising your rent until your lease term is over, or it may specify the length of notice they must give you if they decide to increase your rent. 
That said, it is likely that landlords will give you notice if they choose to increase rent. Giving notice is a common courtesy that is especially important for something like increasing someone’s monthly expenses. 
It is common practice for landlords to give tenants at least 30 days' notice before the change is in effect. Be sure to consult your lease, or ask your landlord about their plans if you’re worried about rent increases. 

When is it illegal to raise rent in Tennessee?

Typically, landlords in Tennessee can raise rents whenever they please, by however much they want. However, landlords don’t have absolute power and they can’t raise rent to:
  • Retaliate against your for exercising a legal right (such as filing a complaint regarding a broken heater that has gone unfixed)
  • Discriminate against you based on: race, color, national origin, sex, disability, familial status, or religion
In these situations, your landlord may be raising your rent to force you out of their building. This is prohibited by law, so if you think your landlord may be retaliating or discriminating against you, you have a solid legal case against them. 

How to respond to a rent increase

While having your rent increase is never pleasant, there are a couple of ways you can deal with it. If it is a simple rent increase and you have the means to afford it, you can accept the higher rate and start paying it when required to. Other responses to a price increase may be:
  • Hiring a lawyer to take legal action: If your landlord has discriminated or retaliated against you, hiring a lawyer is your best bet to avoid a price hike and prevent injustice from happening. 
  • Negotiate with your landlord: If your landlord has increased your rent to an unreasonable amount and you can no longer afford your monthly payments, try talking with them to see if you can reach a compromise.
  • COVID-19 impacting your ability to pay: If COVID-19 has impacted your ability to afford the increased rent, you should contact your local emergency rental assistance program (ERAP) for resources and help. 

How to save money on renters insurance

Most people think a new insurance policy will add hundreds of dollars to their monthly spending. That’s not the case with renters insurance. For just a few bucks a month, you could save thousands of dollars if disaster strikes. 
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FAQs

As Tenessee is a landlord-friendly state, there is no official prohibition on increasing rent during the pandemic. If you cannot afford your rent increase, there are many resources available to help you through this difficult time. Look into applying for rent relief if you're encountering difficulties during the pandemic.
With an increase of 20% this past year, rent increases in Tennessee are above the national average.

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