Your tenancy agreement should contain details of how and when your rent will be reviewed. There are special rules for increasing protected (sometimes known as ‘regulated’) tenancy rents.
When your rent is increased
For Periodic tenancy, where your tenancy is rolling, on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis, your rent cannot normally be increased more than once a year without your agreement.
These tenancies run for a set period and your landlord can only increase the rent if you agree. If you do not give your agreement, the rent can only be increased when the fixed term ends.
General rules of any tenancy
- If your landlord wants to increase your rent by more than what was previously agreed, they must obtain your permission first
- Any rent increase must be fair, realistic and in line with average local rents
If there is a set procedure in your tenancy agreement for increasing your rent, the landlord must stick to this procedure. Otherwise, your landlord can:
- Renew your tenancy agreement, with an increased rent at the end of your fixed term
- Negotiate and agree a rent increase with you and provide you with a written record of the agreement that you both sign
- Use a ‘Landlord’s notice proposing a new rent’ form. This increases the rent after the fixed term has ended
If you pay your rent on a weekly or monthly basis, your landlord must give you a minimum of one month’s notice. If you have a yearly tenancy, you must be given six months’ notice.
You may be able to apply to a tribunal for certain rent disputes in England (there are different options in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
The First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) deals with appeals on a range of disputes relating to property and land and can deal with appeals against:
- If you are an assured or assured shorthold tenant it can deal with some rent increases
- Excessive rent charges, providing you are in the first six months of an assured shorthold tenancy
- A fair rent determination (if you are a regulated tenant) decided by a rent officer
You can only apply to the tribunal if you have an assured or assured shorthold tenancy and where your rent has been increased as part of a ‘section 13 procedure’ - the letter from your landlord will say if it has, and will tell you more about applying to a tribunal. An application to take the matter to the tribunal must be made before the new rent is due to start. The notice will set out the proposed new rent and the start date of when the rent increase will take effect. You will normally have one month to appeal to the tribunal if you don't accept the proposed increase.
To appeal to the tribunal you must:
- Complete a special form to refer the rent; and
- Provide a copy of the section 13 notice
You can download a copy of the forms: Assured Periodic Tenancy or Agricultural Occupancy, Assured shorthold tenancy, Statutory Periodic Tenancy.
If your private tenancy started before 15 January 1989 you are likely to be a regulated tenant. If you have a regulated tenancy you or your landlord can apply for a fair rent to be set by a rent officer at the Valuation Office Agency.
Once a fair rent has been registered:
- You cannot be charged more than the fair rent
- The decision cannot usually be reconsidered for a period of two years
Either you or your landlord can object to the fair rent assessment by writing to the rent officer within 28 days of the decision being made. The rent officer will refer the case to the tribunal to decide the fair rent.
If you are a lodger, your landlord can only charge you the market rent. Your landlord is not allowed to increase your rent during a fixed-term agreement unless there is a clause in your agreement that states the rent can be increased.
If your landlord has not given you a fixed-term agreement, there are no rules limiting the amount they can increase your rent.The only option in this situation is to try and negotiate a lower increase with your landlord.
You may be entitled to claim housing benefit or universal credit to help you with your housing costs. Visit the www.turn2us.org.uk benefit calculator to check your entitlement.
An increase in your rent will be considered a change in your circumstances. Therefore if you are already claiming one of these benefits.
Report your rent to:
- the housing benefit department, at your local authority, if you are claiming housing benefit
- Jobcentre Plus, if you are claiming universal credit
Make sure you also provide evidence of the rent increase, such as the notice or a letter from your landlord.