I’ve been living in an apartment I love. It checks all of my boxes—from the obvious central location between my and my partner’s workplaces to my minute personal preferences (no carpet in the living room, in-unit washer and dryer, etc.). Everything was going great until I received an ominous message from the property manager.
She forgot to include a stipulation regarding pet rent when I signed my lease six months ago.
Now she wants an extra $15 per month.
This is far from an uncommon occurrence. You may even find yourself in a similar position, where your landlord or property manager wants to start charging you for pet rent or even increase your overall rent before your lease is up.
But can a landlord or property manager really just implement changes mid-lease like this?
Your lease is a legally binding document that you, your roommates, and your landlord or property manager agreed to when each of you signed it. If your landlord wants to make a major change to your lease, they will have to draft an addendum or wait until your current lease expires to do so.
If your landlord decides to draft an addendum, you do not have to sign it. But you aren’t completely off the hook. Remember that leases don’t last forever, and you will likely have to address the changes your landlord wants to make when you’re looking to renew (since you love your apartment and hate moving so much).
If you happen to have a month-to-month lease agreement, the above doesn’t apply! The monthly flexibility bends both ways. Your landlord can introduce a change to your lease whenever they want to, but they must give you a 30-day notice before the change can go into effect.
My personal case remains unresolved. I haven’t paid any extra fees or signed an addendum. Although, I suspect I will see a mandatory pet rent when the time comes for me to renew or move.
If the impending changes start to make you love your apartment a little less, you can always search for a new one when your current lease is close to ending on Apartments.com, where you can browse countless available listings and use detailed search filters to find a new (dare I say, better) apartment home.