How to challenge a rent increase

You can try and negotiate with your landlord. You may also be able to apply to a tribunal.

Check whether you have to agree

You may be able to refuse a rent increase without having to formally challenge it.

It depends on how your landlord tries to increase the rent.

For example, if your landlord offers you a new tenancy agreement, you don’t have to agree to sign it.

If your landlord asks you to pay a new higher rent, then it will be up to you whether to agree unless they:

  • use a rent review clause
  • give you a section 13 notice

Some landlords choose to evict tenants who challenge a rent increase.

Try and change your landlord’s mind

You can try and negotiate. You may be able to change your landlord’s mind. 

For example, you could:

  • explain your financial circumstances
  • offer a lower increase that is more affordable
  • show that the amount they are asking for is above market rent

Negotiation is normally the only way to challenge a rent increase if your landlord has used a rent review clause.

Apply to a tribunal

A tribunal can set a new rent for your tenancy.

The tribunal is usually made up of 2 or 3 people. The tribunal chairperson is normally a lawyer or surveyor.

Decide whether to apply

Always consider whether it’s a good idea to challenge a rent increase.

Your landlord might take steps to evict you if you apply to a tribunal.

Check if the proposed rent is in line with similar rented properties in your area.

There's a risk that a tribunal could set a higher rent than what your landlord is asking for.

You can check previous tribunal decisions on GOV.UK. Type 'assured shorthold tenancy' into the search box on the page to find decisions that relate to your type of tenancy.

When to apply

You can only apply to a tribunal if your landlord gives you a section 13 notice.

Check the section 13 notice for the start date for the new rent.

The tribunal must receive your application before this date.

How to apply

Download and complete Form Rents 1 from GOV.UK.

Send this to the tribunal for your region, along with a copy of the section 13 notice.

You can find the address of your tribunal regional office at the end of the form.

Tribunal hearings

There will only be a hearing if you or your landlord ask for one.

It's a good idea to ask for a hearing because you'll have the opportunity to give evidence and ask questions.

If no one asks for a hearing, then the tribunal will make a decision based on the documents and evidence they receive.

Inspections by the tribunal

The tribunal members usually inspect the inside and outside of the property if either:

  • you or the landlord ask them to
  • the tribunal thinks it's necessary

The time and date of the inspection will be arranged with you. The landlord can be present if you give permission for this. 

The inspection will usually be on the same date as the hearing if there is one.

Invalid notice

The tribunal can refuse a rent increase if the section 13 notice isn’t valid.

This includes if:

  • it gave less than 1 month's notice
  • the proposed start date for the new rent is not the first day of a period of the tenancy

Your rent will remain the same if the tribunal decides that the notice is not valid. However, your landlord could give you a new section 13 notice.

Setting a market rent

If the notice is valid then the tribunal will determine a market rent.

They do this by looking at the rent for similar properties in the area.

They can consider the condition and state of repair of your property as this would affect how much rent the landlord could expect. 

The new rent could be the same, lower or higher than what the landlord originally asked for.

When you have to pay the new rent

The new rent will normally apply from the date in the section 13 notice.

This may mean that you owe the landlord money if you've had to wait for the tribunal's decision. 

Tell the tribunal if this will cause you financial problems. They may say that the new rent will apply from the date of their decision instead.

Appealing a tribunal decision

You may be able to challenge a first tier tribunal decision by appealing to the upper tribunal.

You will normally need specialist advice to do this.

Fair rents

Regulated tenants are entitled to a fair rent. 

There's a different process for challenging an increase to a fair rent.


Last updated 28 Nov 2019 | © Shelter

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