These 10 States Have the Worst Rent Control Laws
These are expensive times due to continuing inflation, which has really had a steep impact on the cost of housing. According to a recent GOBankingRates survey, 73% of people rent versus own, and the cost of renting is skyrocketing for approximately 38% of renters around the country.
For those who are looking into moving to find a better deal, you may first want to be aware of states that have unfavorable rent control laws for tenants. These laws tend to give landlords free reign to set and charge as much rent as they want, raise rates with little to no notice, and charge fees for late payments and other issues. Here are the ten states with the worst rent control laws.
Arkansas tops the list because not only are there are no real rent control policies in Arkansas, but Arkansas is the only state where tenants can receive criminal charges for failing to vacate after an eviction notice, according to Nolo.com. In addition, landlords are allowed to charge whatever rent they choose and can raise your rent as much as they want without having to give tenants much notice tenant — though not within a lease period.
Renters will also find no rent control laws in West Virginia, according to iPropertyManagement. Landlords have leeway to set and raise rent as they see fit, though they do need to give 30 days for rent increases. West Virginia also doesn’t regulate fees that landlords can charge, though they are required to disclose them up front.
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Louisiana is one of a few states that has gone to an extreme and banned rent control altogether, according to iPropertyManagement. The state also doesn’t intervene upon a landlord’s ability to raise rent as a form of retaliation after tenants exercise their rights, which is not an uncommon practice. About the only statute Louisiana imposes on landlords is that they can’t raise rent within the lease period.
Georgia is another state without rent control policies, and one where cities and counties are legally prohibited from setting any rent control policies, according to RentSpree.com. That means landlords are free to set their prices however they want, and that often means aiming to be competitive with the real estate market. In addition, landlords can set their own fees for late fees and security deposits — their only limit is $30 or 5% on a bounced check.
In Wyoming — another state lacking rent control — some tenants have reported such things as unsafe living conditions, according to Wyoming Public Media, and have little bargaining power with their landlords. In the big city of Laramie, city council members are working to enact legislation that would force landlords to assure their properties are safe for tenants. The outlook for statewide rent control remains negative, however.
Don’t expect rent control anytime soon in North Carolina. The state passed a ban on rent control in 1987, with bipartisan support, according to the Citizen Times. In the 35 years since, there’s been little change in favor of these policies. This means landlords can charge whatever price they like, according to Dawson Property Management, but they at least have to wait out a tenant’s lease period before raising rates.
Idaho joins the other states that don’t have any state-level rent control, according to Five Star Property Management. Your landlord may raise your rent, or set whatever price they want, without any discretion or justification. They also only need to give tenants 15 days notice before a rent increase, and there are no limits or regulations on late payment fees. The only thing working in the tenants’ favor is that fees must be disclosed in the rental agreement if they are to be upheld in court.
Ohio shows its anti-tenant colors by prohibiting cities and townships from passing any laws that try to regulate rental agreements, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Even worse, as of June 2022, in response to a pro-rent control petition that circulated in Ohio, the state’s governor responded by passing legislation banning rent control of any kind.
Mississippi bans rent control in the entire state, which gives landlords the freedom to set and raise rent prices as they desire. Though there is no regulation saying how much notice a landlord must provide before a rent increase, it is customary to give 30 days (but not mandatory), according to iPropertyManagement. Landlords here do have to abide by the agreements of their lease, however, and can’t raise the rent within a lease term unless it is written into the lease.
Finally, rent control has been banned in Colorado since 1981. However, due to skyrocketing costs of late, groups rallied at the state capitol, urging the state Congress to pass rent-control laws, according to NBC affiliate 9 News in Colorado.
If these were to go into effect, the soonest it would happen would be in 2023. There might be some hope, given that the state passed SB 21-173 in 2021, which limits the amount of late fees landlords can charge, prolongs the time for paying overdue rent, and gives tenants more legal rights when dealing with an eviction, among other things, according to Colorado Newsline.
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