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Rent increases for private tenants

Challenge a rent increase

It's a good idea to try and negotiate before starting a legal process, like going to a tribunal.

For example, you could tell your landlord:

  • that the increase they're asking for is above market rent

  • that you could agree to a lower rent increase if it's affordable

  • about your financial situation, especially if you cannot get more local housing allowance

You could use a budget tool to show what rent you can afford.

Charities like National Debtline have budget planner tools.

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

Going to a tribunal

If you and your landlord cannot agree, you could ask a tribunal to decide.

A tribunal can set a new rent for your tenancy.

Going to a tribunal is free. You do not have to pay your landlord's costs even if you lose.

But a tribunal could set a higher rent than your landlord is asking for.

Check if the new rent your landlord is asking for is in line with similar rented properties in your area before going to a tribunal.

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

When to apply

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

Check the section 13 notice for the date when the new rent starts.

You have to apply before this date.

How to apply

Download and complete Form Rents 1 from GOV.UK.

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

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

How the tribunal decides

The tribunal decides based on the documents they get from you and your landlord.

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

You can look at previous tribunal decisions on GOV.UK.

Type 'assured shorthold tenancy' into the search to find decisions about your type of tenancy.

Inspections by the tribunal

Normally the tribunal can inspect the property if you or your landlord ask them to.

They can consider the condition of the property. Tell them about any disrepair or bad conditions.

Setting a market rent

The tribunal can decide a new market rent.

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

The new rent could be the same, lower or higher than what the landlord 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 you owe the landlord money.

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

Appealing a tribunal decision

You could challenge a first tier tribunal decision by appealing to the upper tribunal.

You normally need specialist advice to do this.

If the rent increase notice is not valid

A section 13 notice could not be valid if:

  • it gives you less than 1 month's notice

  • the proposed start date for the rent is not the first day of a period of the tenancy

A tribunal cannot decide if a section 13 rent increase notice is valid or not.

Only a court can do this.

You normally need specialist advice to ask the court to decide if a section 13 notice is not valid.

Your rent will stay the same if the section 13 notice is not valid.

But your landlord could give you a new rent increase notice or take steps to evict you.

Tell the court the notice is not valid if your landlord tries to evict you for rent arrears.

Fair rents

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

Last updated: 11 December 2023

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