Can a landlord increase your rent without a rental agreement?

My family and I are currently living with my uncle and his family. 

We are paying everything from the utilities, bills, plus rent. 

Before we got the house, my uncle used his name on the house and we helped with a down payment. 

Fast forward to now, he’s currently moved in with us plus his wife and 2 kids. 

He now wants to charge us more rent. 

But he didn’t have us sign any rental agreement or paper to agree with these changes.

I was wondering if it is legal for him to do that without any proof of us signing any papers. 

Thank you, 

We really need help on this situation.


We are living in  Riverside, California

Thank you everyone for your answers 🥺💙 

Its been very hard due to covid.

Any more information I need to know or resources I can look into is much appreciated! 🙏🏼

Update 2:

In the beginning my uncle is the buyer and my dad (his brother) is co buyer back in 2009 

We helped with the down payment + rent + utilities. ( my uncle did not live with us)

My uncle took care of the mortgage.

In 2018  mortgage is paid off & his whole family moved in

We’re still going our part as usual since 2009 

Forward to today my uncle had my dad in signing over the whole title to my uncle.

So my uncle now is solely the owner. 

He’s charging my parents + me + my grandma for rent 😓

Update 3:

Also my parents are the only one working, I’m currently unemployed, my grandma is on SSI.

I’m paying him with whatever money I have left over from my old job. 

Update 4:

One more update, if I don’t have any proof of income, can he still charge me? 

He messaged me today that, me specifically have to pay an extra $100, however I’m not working since I’m a student and covid. 

I’m paying him with what is leftover from my previous job. 

Update 5:

He gave me a notice on Dec 19, 2020 that on Jan 1st the rent will be increased

& I will be charged a late fee of an extra $75 to the next rent payment 🙃😓

My rent due date is every 10th of the month. 

Update 6:

Thank you so much everyone for your responses! 

I appreciate you all 💙

I just needed an opinion and wanted to provide as much information as I can on my situation 😊🙏🏼

Thank you for the good lucks 🍀 

Update 7:

And no we are currently not on any lease at all.

It was just told through text that we are paying rent, there was no paper agreement with signatures. 

Update 8:

Thank you everyone who have helped us with our situation!

Our family was able to find a new home and we will be able to move out in 2 months (: 

20 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    You didn't mention on whether or not you are currently under a lease.

  • garry
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    no as long as you signed the original  agreement , its a contract and him increasing it is illegal , you signed and he signed it , quick and simple .he can charge you a reasonable late fee is you are paying late .

  • zipper
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    This depends in the State you live in, most likely the answer is a huge YES HE CAN!

  • 2 months ago

    Since you don't have a lease the landlord can raise the rent or change the rental terms with 1 month notice, however its probably not worth fighting if they try to change it with less notice since all that would do is delay the change just slightly.

    The whole situation sounds weird to me. You are renting a house from your Uncle, then he moves in with you (giving you less space and less privacy) and wants to charge you MORE?

    If you were renting from someone else and then you wanted to let your Uncle live with you it would make sense for the landlord to raise the rent since more people = more wear & tear on the house.

    But if your Uncle owns the house then him moving in changes it from you having the whole house to you sharing the house with them, which is usually a lot less rent for a shared house vs getting a whole house. Sounds like he's charging you more because he's out of work and needs the money but that's not fair -  you rent should be based on the quality of the housing you're getting.

    Nonetheless if he owns it and there's no lease then he can set the terms and change them with minimal notice and your choice is to go along with the terms or move out.

    Sounds like a tough situation. Good luck.

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  • 2 months ago

    Obviously he can ASK for more money. You do not need to have a written agreement in order to rent from someone or to rent to someone. So the short answer is yes, it's legal. 

    The other issues you mentioned really aren't relevant to your initial question. But you all need to sit down and draw up budgets and plans for how the household expenses are to be divided up among all the people who are living in the place. 

    If your uncle owns the house, he can charge anyone anything he wants--whether or not you are able to pay it, or WANT to pay it is immaterial--he can legally ask and demand whatever he wants to. If you need to modify what you agree to, you'll all have to compromise. 

  • 2 months ago

    If you have no written lease, you're on a month to month lease. He can increase your rent by giving you one month's written notice.

  • 2 months ago

    Your uncle is messing with you, using you, and you have no recourse but to pay what he wants or move out. You have no agreement on rent, and he can increase it anytime. He MIGHT be required to give you a minimum of 30 days notice of the increase. Why should you pay more when he, his wife & kids now live in his house with you? Hope you have a loan agreement for your contribution to the down payment so that you can collect that back.

  • 2 months ago

    That would depend on what the specific rental laws are in the state/province/country under whose jurisdiction is.

  • 2 months ago

    No written rental agreement is required by law. When there is a written rental agreement, terms of that agreement including rent cannot be changed until the agreement expires. When there is no written agreement, all a landlord must do is follow state law - which varies by state - in giving a tenant advance notice of a change in terms, including rent.  In a state with a 30 day required notice, rent can legally be raised, in theory, multiple times in a one year period.

  • 1465
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    A lease (rental agreement) is designed to protect both parties. It should spell out the terms of the agreement including the amount of the rent and for how long the agreement is effective.

    Without an agreement or in the case of an agreement expiration, the landlord is free to raise the rent if he wants to.

    The fact that it's an issue between family, and the living arrangements are obviously due to the economic conditions, it sounds like there's a lack of moral fiber somewhere.

    Sorry for your situation.

    Your best strategy, in my opinion, is to find another place to live. If your uncle and his entourage depend on the money you pay him, then perhaps he'll stop and think about the situation he'll be in once that income is no more.

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