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When can I LEGALLY increase my rent?

This entry was posted on Monday, August 5th, 2019 by Nigel Fitzakerley

I thought I’d just let you know how you can legally increase your rent – since we’re currently seeing rents rise in the North East and with all the changes to interest mortgage relief and increased taxation, it might be of help.

Here’s the legal bit……..Notice required before an increase.

A landlord is required to give the tenant sufficient notice before a rent increase is to take effect.

For a monthly, weekly or fortnightly tenancy one month’s notice of the intended increase is required. For a yearly tenancy, a period of six months’ notice is required before the increase can be put into effect.

The date on which the new rent is required must not be earlier than a year after the date when the rent was last increased using a section 13 notice. If a new tenancy is in place then the date should not be any earlier than a year after the date when the tenancy started.

The rent increase must begin on the same day of the month that the tenancy started, not another day of the month. For example, if the rent for the tenancy is due on the 28th of every month then the new increased rent should also be due on the 28th of the month.

Fixed Term Tenancies

Assured Shorthold Tenancies enable the landlord to charge a higher rent after the initial fixed period, which is usually six or twelve months. The rent cannot be increased during the first fixed term.

A landlord can increase the rent if they wish to after the initial fixed period, providing:

The tenancy agreement contains information on the procedure for a rent increase
The landlord gives the tenant the required notice of the intended rent increase
The landlord provides the tenant with written notice that a change will be made to the terms of the tenancy agreement
Landlords are unable to increase the rent before the end of the initial fixed period unless this is stated in the tenancy agreement, or both the tenant and landlord agree to the increase in rent.

Periodic Tenancies
If the fixed term of a tenancy has ended and no new agreement has been signed, then the tenancy automatically becomes a periodic tenancy.

If the tenancy agreement does not provide information on a rent increase, then the landlord can only increase the rent if either :

the tenant and landlord agree, or
a section 13 notice is issued.
There is no limit on the rent increase a landlord can propose with periodic tenancies.

Periodic tenancies make it more difficult for a tenant to oppose rent increases as they have little protection from eviction. The landlord has the right to decide to evict the tenant (using the correct procedure) rather then accept lower rental payments.

Section 13 Notice
The Housing Act 1988 makes it a requirement for a landlord to issue the tenant with a Section 13 notice if the increase in rent is not stated in the tenancy agreement and the tenant refuses to agree to the increased rent proposed.

The form giving notice of an increase in rent is required to be completed by the landlord. The form contains information on the rent increase and the starting date for the new rent proposed. It provides guidance notes for both landlord and tenant and is quite straight forward to complete.

If a landlord decides to increase the rent but does not issue a Section 13 notice then the tenant is not obliged to pay the increase in rent, unless stated in the tenancy agreement. If a landlord later tries to gain possession based on unpaid rent arrears due to the increase, then the rent increases may not be accepted by the courts. There would not then be a possession order based on rent arrears and the possession order may be refused.

In some cases the landlord may prefer to issue the tenant with a Section 13 notice, but more often than not they would rather end the tenancy if a tenant refuses to agree to the rent increase.

I hope this helps, do you need any help increasing your rent?

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