3 Reasons Landlords Are Raising Rents -- and What to Do About It

A woman sitting on her living room floor and looking up something on her laptop on the coffee table.

Image source: Getty Images

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

Rents are soaring -- but there's a reason for that.

Key points

  • Rent prices have risen at a rapid pace this year.
  • If you can't swing a rent hike, it pays to look at negotiating, splitting your costs with a roommate, or moving.

There was a point in 2020 when landlords were so desperate to get leases signed they were practically giving away rent for free. But these days, the demand for rentals is soaring, and prices are following suit.

Zumper reports that as of March, the median one-bedroom rent was $1,400 on a national level. That represents 2.5% growth for this calendar year so far. By contrast, rents rose 1.9% during the same period last year.

If your rent has gone up recently, you're in good company. Here are three reasons why landlords keep charging more.

1. Landlords raise rents because they can

A lot of people have seen their living situations change in the course of the pandemic. Remote work has opened the door to more moving options, and a lot of people are taking advantage. Since the demand for rentals is high, landlords can get away with charging higher costs.

Also, these days, home values are up on a national level, and mortgage rates have been climbing since the start of the year. That's made it difficult for people to buy homes. And if they can't buy, they have to rent instead -- hence an uptick in demand that landlords can benefit from.

2. Their own costs are going up

Because home values are up on a national level, property taxes are rising, too. That's a burden for landlords, and so they may be raising rents to help cover their own expenses. Other expenses like home insurance also increase over time. 

3. They're making up for lost rent during the pandemic

In 2020, lawmakers put a ban on evictions in an effort to prevent a widespread homelessness crisis. That ban then held steady until mid-2021, at which point it expired at the federal level -- though some states extended their own protections. 

All told, a lot of landlords lost out on rental income during the pandemic and had to dip into their own savings to make ends meet. And so now, landlords may be making up for that by demanding higher rent prices while they can.

What to do if your rent is rising

If you're coming to the end of a lease, you may find that your landlord is seeking to raise your rent. And if that's not a cost you can swing, you have some options.

First, you can try negotiating with your landlord. If you're looking at a $90 monthly increase, try compromising at $45 or $50. If you've been a tenant in good standing with a history of paying rent on time, your landlord might work with you.

If that doesn't work, see if it's possible to get a roommate. Not every home allows for this, but if yours does, splitting your rent with someone else will make a rent hike much easier to swallow.

Finally, you may need to look at moving to a less expensive home if your landlord won't come down on rent and sharing your living space isn't feasible. If you don't have a lot of furniture, it may be possible to spend very little on a move and lower your rent in the process. 

Rising rents are bad news for tenants, but unfortunately, that's what's to be expected these days. If your rent is going up, it pays to explore these options. At the same time, though, you may want to consider the reasons why your rent is increasing. It may not be that your landlord is greedy, but rather, is trying to compensate for rising expenses and recover from the blow of the pandemic.

Alert: highest cash back card we've seen now has 0% intro APR until 2024

If you're using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our experts love this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR until 2024, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee. 

In fact, this card is so good that our experts even use it personally. Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes. 

Read our free review

Our Research Expert