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Section 13 rent increases

This content applies to England

This section explains section 13 rent increases, which applies to periodic tenancies only.

Section 13 of the Housing Act 1988 allows a landlord to raise the rent on a periodic assured or assured shorthold tenancy by means of a notice of increase in the prescribed form.

Limitations

The use of section 13 is subject to limitations:

  • it cannot be used during the first 12 months (52 weeks) of a contractual periodic tenancy[1]
  • a notice of increase can be served during the fixed term of an assured or assured shorthold tenancy, but the rent increase must take effect after the:[2]
    • tenancy has become statutory periodic, and
    • 'minimum period' (see below) following service of the notice has expired.
  • for assured shorthold tenants where a Tribunal has reduced an 'excessive' rent under section 22 (see Reducing the rent of an AST), an increase cannot take effect until the anniversary of that determination
  • it can only be used to increase the rent once every 12 months (52 weeks)[3].

A tenant who has succeeded to a periodic assured tenancy under the succession provisions of the Rent Act 1977 or the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 will be treated as a statutory periodic assured tenant and therefore the section 13 procedure can start immediately.[4]

Rent review clause

Section 13 does not apply to a contractual periodic tenancy that contains a rent review clause, as the clause will prevail.[5] For more information see Agreements and rent review clauses.

However, where a statutory periodic tenancy arises at the end of a fixed-term tenancy, a rent review clause no longer has effect. To increase the rent the landlord must use the section 13 procedure or obtain the tenant’s agreement.[6]

Notice of increase

The landlord must serve a notice of increase of rent in the prescribed form (Form 4). The information on the form includes a note to the tenant advising her/him of her/his right to refer the increase to a First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).[7]

The increase cannot take effect earlier than the ‘minimum period’ following service of the notice. The period reflects the law governing notice to quit, as such the length of notice required for a tenancy of a period of:

  • a year is six months
  • less than a month, is one month
  • a month or more (but less than a year), is one period of the tenancy.

On expiry of the notice period the increased rent will take effect unless the:[8]

  • tenant refers the notice of increase to the Tribunal, or
  • landlord and tenant agree to a different rent.

Referral to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)

Prior to the expiry of the notice period, the tenant can 'refer' the notice of increase to the Tribunal using the prescribed form (Form 6). The Tribunal does not have the power to extend the time-limit for referral. Referred in this context means received by the Tribunal.[9]

The Tribunal should determine a market rent for the property, ie the rent which could reasonably be expected to be obtained in the open market for a similar property let on similar terms.[10] See Rent assessment for details of how the Tribunal should approach determining the rent.

[1] s.13(2)(b)(ii) Housing Act 1988.

[2] s.13(2) Housing Act 1988.

[3] s.13(3A)(b) Housing Act 1988, as inserted by art.2(b) Regulatory Reform (Assured Periodic Tenancies) (Rent Increases) Order 2003 SI 2003/259.

[4] s.39(6) Housing Act 1988.

[5] s.13(1)(b) Housing Act 1988; Contour Homes Ltd v Rowen [2007] EWCA Civ 842; Chouhan v Earls High School [2016] UKUT 405 (LC).

[6] London District Properties Management Ltd (2) Ferguson (3) Ferguson (4) Sawer v (1) Goolamy (2) Goolamy [2009] EWHC 1367 (Admin).

[7] s.13(2) Housing Act 1988; Form No.4, Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/620, as amended by Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/443.

[8] s.13(4) Housing Act 1988.

[9] s.14 Housing Act 1988, as amended; Form No.6, Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/620; R (on the application of Lester) v London Rent Assessment Committee [2003] EWCA Civ 319; Robertson v Webb [2018] UKUT 235 (LC).

[10] s.14(1) Housing Act 1988; Pimlott v Varcity Accommodation Ltd [2012] EWHC 19 (Admin).

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