Fair rents for regulated tenants
Who is a regulated tenant?
You probably have a regulated tenancy if:
you rent privately
your tenancy started before 15 January 1989
Regulated tenancies are sometimes called protected tenancies or Rent Act tenancies.
What is a fair rent?
A fair rent is the maximum rent a landlord can charge a regulated or protected tenant.
Fair rents are lower than the market rents for most private tenants.
A rent officer sets a fair rent if you or your landlord apply for one to be registered.
If your landlord dies or the property is sold
Your regulated tenancy continues if there's a change of landlord. This is sometimes called being a ‘sitting tenant.’
Your fair rent and other rights continue with a new landlord.
Your tenancy type won't change just because you sign a new agreement.
You're still a regulated tenant entitled to a fair rent if you've rented the property since before 15 January 1989.
How a fair rent is set by a rent officer
Your landlord must apply for a new fair rent if they want to increase your rent.
They can only do this every 2 years.
You can also apply to register a fair rent on the property.
You may need to do this if there is a dispute with your landlord. For example if a new landlord tries to argue you are not a regulated tenant and they can charge a market rent.
What the rent officer looks at
The rent officer considers:
the condition of the property
who is responsible for repairs
any furniture provided by your landlord
any improvements made by your landlord
The rent officer must ignore any improvements you have made. They won't take your circumstances into account, for example if you have a low income.
The rent officer enters the new fair rent on the register of fair rents and writes to you and the landlord with their decision.
If you think the registered fair rent is too high
You can challenge the rent officer’s decision.
You need to write to the rent officer to object within 28 days of receiving the decision.
The rent officer will then pass this to the first tier tribunal. The tribunal will arrange a hearing to decide what the rent should be. Both you and your landlord can attend.
Decide if it's worth challenging
The tribunal could decide the rent should be higher than the amount set by the rent officer.
Before you appeal, check the fair rent register to see how much fair rents are for similar properties in your area.
Will benefits cover the increase?
Fair rents for regulated tenants are lower than market rents so the increase might be covered by benefits.
If you get housing benefit already, you should report the rent increase to the council so they can recalculate your benefit.
If you get universal credit already, you should report the rent increase to the DWP.
Your benefit may increase if the new rent is below your local housing allowance (LHA) rate.
If you inherit a regulated tenancy
If you inherit a regulated tenancy from your husband, wife or partner it will usually still be a regulated tenancy with a fair rent.
If you inherit a regulated tenancy from a parent or close relative who you live with, it will normally become an assured tenancy.
The landlord can increase the rent in a different way. They will probably start charging a market rent.
Last updated: 8 March 2022