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Where I live the price of rent is very high. The government has many rules governing rent. In my experience, it is common for people not to follow all the laws (either out of ignorance or intentionally).

Normally landlords can increase once per year but she did not the previous years, and I think wasn't legally allowed to do so given the COVID emergency measures. She might be thinking she can, but legally it isn't allowed to include previous years in the rent increase.

A couple of months ago my landlord verbally warned me the rent would be increasing. Now she has sent me a text message with the exact amount and deadline. The amount is over the legal limit. I've thought of sending the following message in reply:

Since the maximum rent increase is 1.2% this means I would be paying $1012 per month instead of $1025. Is this OK?

but I don't really want to ask if this is OK when it's something they're not legally allowed to say 'no' to. I also don't want to directly tell her she's breaking the law, as nobody likes being told so and I want to remain on good terms. She comes over and cleans so I do see her face to face regularly.

I've considered linking to online legislation or a rent increase calculator, but this may come too close to directly telling her she's breaking the law. To complicate matters the landlord's English isn't good so I would like to keep this as simple as possible.

Given the above, how do I tell this landlord that her rent increase is above the legal limit?

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  • Do note that questions asking 'Should I do X' are off-topic on this site. Deciding for you what you should do is not what this site is about, which is 'Interpersonal Skills', behaviors you use while interacting with others to achieve certain goals. Your post can probably easily be edited and rephrased though. You have a message you've thought of sending, but what's keeping you from sending it? What part of your behavior in this interaction/message do you still need help with?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Mar 15 at 9:49
  • @Tinkeringbell where does it say 'should'? The question is 'how'.
    – plantoplan
    Mar 15 at 10:13
  • The body and title weren't matching, and without further details I am unable to make them match. You're asking how in the title, but the body, even after your edit, is still asking 'how should I' and 'should I link'. Instead of asking 'will this message suffice', can you answer my questions in my previous comment? What is keeping you from sending that message, what part of your behavior in this interaction/message do you still need help with? Why do you feel a need to ask for validation here, is there something specific about the message that you're not happy with?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Mar 15 at 10:22
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    @Tinkeringbell that message was just my best attempt. Potential problems with it are 1) it's asking if it's OK when in fact they aren't legally allowed to say no. 2) Often times people don't like being told what they are doing is illegal. Let me know if there's anything else I can fix up, thanks.
    – plantoplan
    Mar 15 at 10:30
  • Thanks! I've given things an edit, take a look to see if you like them. I took a guess about why you're not sending the links to legislation or the rent calculator, feel free to edit further if I guessed wrong there :)
    – Tinkeringbell
    Mar 15 at 10:45

1 Answer 1

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I haven't had to deal with landlords yet, but I have dealt with some legal stuff, both with contractors and something similar to a Home Owner's Association. Also, this approach so far has worked for me in dealing with customer services, or sometimes even coworkers/managers. My preferred approach in situations where I think they are doing things that go against the law, or that seem to go against best practices/a company's own rules, is one where I keep open the possibility that I am the person that isn't understanding things correctly.

Mostly, this approach means I sent statements that revolve around bits like "As far as I understood/am aware the law/best practices say X instead of Y" and "Can you tell me what I'm missing?". This does mean I include links to resources I found, that show to the other person/party why I am thinking the way I am thinking and gives them a chance to find the flaws in my reasoning and/or explain theirs.

So far, this has mostly ended up with either me missing some things and understanding things better after getting an explanation, or the other party looking into it and saying 'you know, we didn't know that, but we'll fix it somehow'. Either way, the other party always seemed okay enough with the approach, and things remained friendly enough after.

There's been only 1 time where this approach didn't work satisfactorily, where the only explanation I was given was that 'it was the rules' and 'it is your word against ours, and you're lying', even after me providing evidence of the opposite and asking for evidence that contradicted mine.

That's where you need to be able and willing to finish things: There's no use in having this first, soft confrontation if you're not going to follow through. In my 1 case, that meant stating I wouldn't pay anything until I got a lawyer to take a look, and if the lawyer confirmed I had to pay, I would pay. But then there was suddenly no need, and the bill could be cancelled. Again though, you need to be both able and willing to keep going (so, to actually get a lawyer) even if such a statement doesn't get the desired result, otherwise, the landlord can have an opportunity to call your bluff, but the relationship you have with them could cool considerably after empty threats.

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  • Thanks for the great answer! Everything worked out well.
    – plantoplan
    Mar 28 at 18:07

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