Your landlord can still try and increase your rent even if you're affected by the pandemic. However they need to follow the correct procedure.
How your rent can be increased
For most private tenants your rent can be increased if you:
agree to a new rent
sign a new contract
have a rent review clause in your contract
get a section 13 notice of a rent increase from your landlord
You may be able to refuse or challenge a rent increase depending on how your landlord tries to increase it.
Different rules apply to regulated tenants who are entitled to a fair rent.
If your landlord asks you to agree a new rent
Your landlord may tell you that the rent is going up without giving you a formal legal notice. For example, they might call or email you.
The rent will only go up in this situation if you agree to it. This includes if you start paying the higher rent even though you're not happy about it.
If you sign a new contract
Your landlord can offer you a new contract at a higher rent.
If you agree you’ll have to pay the level of rent that’s set out in the contract.
Your landlord doesn’t need to give you any notice if they are offering you a new contract.
If you don’t agree then your tenancy will normally continue as a periodic agreement. Your rent will remain the same.
However, your landlord might try and increase the rent by another method or take steps to end your tenancy.
If you have a rent review clause
A rent review clause is a term in your contract that sets out how the rent can be increased.
It will usually say:
when the rent can go up
how much notice you’ll get
how much it can go up by
Not all tenancy agreements contain a rent review clause.
A rent review clause won’t usually apply after a fixed term contract ends.
It will apply if the agreement says the tenancy will continue as a contractual periodic tenancy after the fixed term.
If you get a section 13 notice
Your landlord can give you formal notice of a rent increase called a section 13 notice.
They can't use this procedure more than once a year.
Your rent can only be increased with a section 13 notice if both of the following apply:
you have a periodic (rolling) assured or assured shorthold tenancy
your agreement doesn't have a rent review clause or the clause no longer applies
What the section 13 notice needs to say
Your landlord's notice needs to:
be on form 4
give at least 1 month's notice of the increase
The form tells you the starting date for the new rent.
This needs to be the first day of a period of your tenancy.
For example, if your tenancy began on the 5th of the month, the new rent would need to start on the 5th.
When the rent increase takes effect
Your landlord can give you a section 13 notice proposing a new rent at any point. But the earliest a rent increase can take effect is either:
the day after your fixed term tenancy ends
a year after your tenancy starts if it's a periodic (rolling) contract
If you challenge a section 13 notice through a tribunal, your rent remains the same until the tribunal has made a decision.
Otherwise the rent will increase from the date given in your section 13 notice.
Challenging a section 13 notice
You can challenge the rent increase by applying to the first tier tribunal.
The tribunal must receive your application before the new rent is due to start.
Help paying the increase
Your benefit won't increase if the new rent is higher than the local housing allowance (LHA) rate for your area. But you should still report it as a change in circumstances.
Report the rent increase through either:
Provide evidence such as a notice of the increase or a letter from your landlord.
Last updated: 11 October 2021