Knowledge is power.

Tell the leasing agent or building manager that you know your legal rights -- that the maximum annual rent increase is 2% plus the CPI. You can show written materials like the District of Columbia Tenant Bill of Rights that contain this information.

Tell your landlord that by law you don't have to sign a new lease. In our experience they have been immovable on this demand. However, you later may be able to show that you were forced to signed against your will under duress and that the contract is void.

Your landlord probably won't capitulate just because you know your rights. These companies are confident that the lawyers have it all figured out. On the other hand, the fact that you know the law means that they must be more careful with you. This increases the chance that you'll get a better outcome.

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