• Since you cousin wasn't in a position to go to court about it, the landlord could get away with it, even if it was not legal. It is a serious problem, where people get away with such things because lawyers are too expensive. Sometime lease agreements are not really legally binding, but only a judge in a court of law can decide.
  • No it's not legal to raise the rent if a legitimate signed lease agreement stating that the rental payment is fixed for the one year term. This can be appealed, but it could be costly and take time. Generally speaking, renters don't have the money or time to appeal so they move on. If I were in this situation, I would leave as soon as my lease was up, but I would be persistent in fighting to get my money back. I would look to free legal aid and follow through. If I had the money, then I would pursue it even more vehemently. I own 7 rental properties. I believe in respecting my renters and cater to their needs. I in turn expect them to treat my property as if it were their own.
  • Read the lease - does it state that the rent to be paid is subject to change and can increase during the duration of the lease? If such a clause is not contained within it, the matter is illegal. A contract is a contract: it's your cousins signature against the landlords/agents. In this case a court could decide for a refund of the money. But trying to take this to court is costly.

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