The rules for rent increases in private renting depend on what type of tenancy you have.
Rent increases for fixed-term tenants
Your landlord can't increase the rent during the fixed-term tenancy of your tenancy unless:
- there is a clause in your agreement that says when and how the rent can be increased
- you agree to the increase
Rent increases for periodic tenants
You have a periodic tenancy if you don't have a fixed-term tenancy agreement or it has ended.
When and how your rent can be increased depends on the type of tenancy you have
Rent increases for assured shorthold tenants
Landlords usually charge a market rent for assured shorthold tenancies. Rent levels are affected by the availability and cost of similar properties in the area.
Landlords can increase the rent if they renew your tenancy agreement. Signing up to a new tenancy agreement means you agree to pay the rent set out in it.
If the fixed-term of your tenancy has ended and not been renewed, or you never had a fixed term agreement, your rent can only be increased if:
- you agree to it
- your landlord follows the procedures that apply to assured tenants
Assured shorthold tenants don't have much protection from eviction. Your landlord can decide to get a new tenant at the end of a fixed-term agreement. They must follow the correct procedure to evict you legally.
You may have to accept the increase if you want to stay in your home. You could negotiate with your landlord to try to agree a lower rent or to increase the rent in stages over a period of time. It costs landlords time and money to re-let a property.
Find out more about assured shorthold tenancies.
Rent increases if you have an assured tenancy
Some private tenants have an assured tenancy. This is most likely if your tenancy started between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 and your landlord did not give you a notice saying that you have an assured shorthold tenancy.
Assured tenants pay market rents. Market rents are affected by the availability and cost of similar accommodation in the area.
Your rent can only be increased during the fixed-term of your tenancy if your tenancy agreement sets out how and when it can be increased.
After a fixed-term expires or if you never had a fixed term agreement, your rent can be increased if:
- you agree to the increase
- your landlord has given you one month's written notice of the proposed increase on a special form
Your rent can also be increased if your tenancy agreement has a rent review clause. This clause sets out how and when your rent can be increased. If you had a fixed-term tenancy that has expired your landlord may not be able to use this to increase your rent.
You have the right to apply to a tribunal for rent disputes if your landlord gives you notice of a proposed increase. You must do this before the notice period expires. The tribunal may decide to increase the rent if they think it is lower than comparable properties in the area.
Challenging a rent increase won't affect your right to stay in your home. Your landlord needs a legal reason such as rent arrears to evict you from an assured tenancy.
Once you pay the higher rent, this usually means you have agreed to the increase.
Get advice as soon as you can if you are not happy about a proposed rent increase.
Use Shelter's directory to find face-to-face advice in your local area.
Rent increases if you have a regulated tenancy
You probably have a regulated tenancy if your tenancy started before 15 January 1989.
Regulated tenants are entitled to a 'fair rent'. A fair rent is the maximum rent your landlord can charge. This is usually less than the market rent paid by most private tenants.
Fair rents are set by a rent officer at the Valuation Office Agency.
If a fair rent isn't already registered, you or your landlord can apply to get one registered.
Your landlord must give you written notice on a special form if they want to increase the rent. You can write to the rent officer if you think the proposed increase is too high.
Fair rents can normally only be increased every two years. The increase is calculated using a special formula. A larger increase may be awarded if the landlord has improved your home.
Rent increase for lodgers
Landlords of lodgers can charge a market rent. This is the typical rate for rents in an area.
The rent cannot be increased during your fixed-term agreement unless:
- your agreement says how and when it can be increased
- you agree to an increase
If you don't have a fixed-term agreement, there are no rules limiting the amount your rent can be increased. Your only option is to try to negotiate a lower increase with your landlord.
Housing benefit and rent increases
An increase in your rent counts as a change in your circumstances for housing benefit claims.
You must tell the council if your rent goes up. Provide evidence of the rent increase such as a letter from your landlord.
Find out more about reporting changes in your circumstances.