When you move into a property, you will agree with your landlord how much rent should be paid and how often. Your tenancy agreement should also state how often your rent can be reviewed.
If the landlord wants to increase the rent on a fixed-term tenancy (that is, a tenancy where you have signed up to live in the property for a set period of time), there must be a clause in the tenancy agreement which will allow them to do this, or else they cannot increase the rent until the fixed-term period ends unless you agree to let them do so. They may also choose to raise the rent if you continue living in the house after the fixed term ends.
For periodic tenancies (that is, tenancies which run from month to month or week to week), your landlord generally cannot increase your rent more than once a year unless you agree to it.
Regardless of the type of tenancy you have, your rent cannot be increased by an amount more than previously agreed unless you are willing to accept this. They should also only increase rent in line with similar properties in the area – they cannot push for an unrealistic or unfair increase in your rent.
Your tenancy agreement may set out a procedure for proposing a rent increase, and if it does then your landlord must use it. If not, they have several options.
If you are in a fixed-term tenancy, they can increase the rent when renewing your tenancy agreement after the initial fixed-term period is up, or fill out a government form entitled ‘Landlord’s notice proposing a new rent’, which will do the same thing.
In any tenancy, they can raise the rent by negotiating an increase with you and having you both sign an agreement stating this. Otherwise they will have to issue a section 13 notice in accordance with the Housing Act 1988, allowing them to increase your rent without your agreement and without having to have mentioned it in the tenancy agreement. However, this can only be done after the initial fixed term has elapsed.
If you pay rent weekly or monthly, your landlord needs to give you one month’s notice before increasing rent. For yearly tenancies, six months’ notice will be required.
If you disagree with a rent increase, you can appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal, who can take a look at the amount you are being expected to pay and decide whether it is fair. You should contact them if you receive a notification from your landlord that they intend to increase your rent and you do not feel that the increase is fair or proportionate.
The legal advice in this article was provided by DAS Law, part of the DAS UK Group. This information is for general guidance regarding rights and responsibilities and is not formal legal advice as no lawyer-client relationship has been created.