Tenants in Philadelphia have only a few ways to stop a rent increase. Unlike some cities, Philadelphia has no rent control. There is no limit on the amount of a rent increase your landlord can give you. But there are limits on when your landlord can raise your rent. These protections are important, especially if your landlord does not make repairs.
Your landlord only can raise your rent by giving you advance notice. The notice should be given in writing. If you have an oral lease or a month-to-month lease, your landlord must give you 15 days’ notice before raising your rent. That is, to raise your rent on January 1, your landlord should give you a written notice on or before December 16.
Most leases which last more than one month are in writing. If you have a lease longer than one month, such as a yearly lease, there will probably be a clause in the lease that says how much notice your landlord must give before raising your rent. Usually this will be 30 days, 60 days or 90 days before the end of your lease. If there is no such clause, your landlord must give you at least 15 days’ notice. If your landlord does not give you enough notice, the rent increase is not legal.
The other protection tenants have is the Fair Housing Ordinance. This law says that your landlord cannot raise your rent if there are Housing Code violations in your home. If you have received a rent increase and there are Housing Code violations, you should file a complaint with the Fair Housing Commission. You must file in person. Bring your lease, your landlord's rent increase notice and proof that you have paid your last three months’ rent (rent book, canceled checks, etc.).