What Happens If Your Landlord Wants To Increase Your Rent?

What Happens If Your Landlord Wants To Increase Your Rent?

Sadly, times are very tough right now, the cost of living is increasing across the board with some costs rising at very alarming rates.

One of the worries facing tenants right now, causing considerable anxiety is the fear of a rent increase. So, what happens if your landlord wants to increase your rent?

First off, your landlord cannot increase your rent whenever they like, or by any amount. They will need to follow certain rules and guidance if they want to increase your rent and these rules will depend on the type of tenancy agreement you have.

If your landlord does not follow these rules, you can challenge them. However, you may not be able to challenge the rent increase if you have already started paying the revised rent amount, for example, if you’ve started paying £900 a month instead of your previous amount of £800, and since changed your mind.

Before we go any further, we’ll start by stating that if you disagree with the proposal from your landlord to increase the rent, the best advice is to speak with your landlord first and try to reach an agreement that works for both of you. If you can’t reach an agreement, you may be able to challenge the increase.

Check your tenancy agreement

As previously mentioned, rules around rent increases vary based on the type of tenancy agreement you have in place right now, so please find your tenancy agreement and find out as soon as you can.

For a fixed-term tenancy, your landlord can only increase the rent if:

  • You agree to the increase.
  • If the fixed-term tenancy allows it (in the form of a rent review clause, it must state when and how your landlord can increase the rent within the fixed period.
  • Or when the fixed term has ended.

A fixed-term tenancy is normally the minimum term agreement you sign when you first move into the property, i.e., a 6-month agreement. After this initial fixed term, you may continue to live in the property on a ‘rolling’ non-fixed tenancy or you may sign a new fixed-term agreement.

For a periodic or rolling tenancy, your landlord can increase the rent, but they must notify you correctly and the landlord cannot normally increase the rent more than once per year.

General guidance around rent increases

If you have an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, your landlord could increase your rent based on ‘market rates’. This is the average cost of properties in your area, similar to the one you rent.

At this point, you should check the prices of properties in your area to get a better idea of how much your property should be charged.

For any tenancy type, your landlord must get your agreement if they want to increase the rent by more than the previously agreed rent amount and the rent increase must be fair & realistic.

How must your landlord approach a rent increase proposal?

If your tenancy agreement already includes a process for increasing your rent, your landlord must stick to it. If there is no guidance or clause regarding rent increases in your tenancy agreement, your landlord can:

  • Renew your tenancy agreement at the end of the fixed term, but with the new higher rent amount
  • Agree to a rent increase with you, which must be signed by both parties
  • Use a ‘landlord’s notice proposing a new rent’ form, which increases the rent after your fixed term has ended.

How much notice should you be given before a rent increase?

Like in previous answers, the type of notice period required will depend on the type of tenancy agreement you have, more specifically, the length of your tenancy period.

If you pay your rent weekly or monthly on a periodic tenancy (rolling agreement), your landlord must give you at least one month’s notice. If you have a yearly tenancy, the landlord must give you 6 months’ notice.

What if you can’t reach an agreement with your landlord about the rent increase proposal?

At this stage, there are so many different avenues you can take, which will depend on your own personal circumstances, as well as any clauses within your tenancy agreement.

Our best advice here is to fetch your tenancy agreement, write down all the details of the proposed rent increase and how this proposal was put forward and then contact your local Citizens Advice office for tailored advice on you could proceed. This should be done as soon as possible and before the date on which your proposed rent increase will start.

Check your deposit

Assuming you paid a tenancy deposit before you moved into the property, the landlord is legally required to pay that deposit into one of three government-approved deposit schemes, rather than his or her own bank account.

If the landlord did not pay your deposit into one of these schemes, you could be owed considerable compensation. If you would like us to check your deposit free of charge, please follow this link.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice or a client-solicitor relationship. All information, content, and materials available on this website are for general information purposes only and should not be used as the basis for taking any specific course of legal action.