Rent increases

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.

Your landlord may try to end your tenancy if you dispute a rent increase

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 don’t agree to pay the increase, the rent will remain the same but your landlord could take steps to end your tenancy

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.

You can apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) if your housing benefit or universal credit doesn't cover your full rent. You may be able to get a grant from a charity.

Last updated: 11 October 2021

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