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:

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

  • offer a lower increase that you can afford

  • show the higher amount is above market rent

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

A tribunal can set a new rent for your tenancy.

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

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.

Deciding whether to apply

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

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

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.

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 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

Check the most recent coronavirus rules and restrictions for going to tribunal for hearings.

If neither you nor your landlord asks for a hearing, the tribunal will decide based on the documents and evidence they receive.

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.

Invalid notice

The tribunal can refuse a rent increase if the section 13 notice is not valid.

This includes 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

Your rent will stay the same if the tribunal decides the notice is not valid. Your landlord could still give you a new section 13 notice.

Setting a market rent

If the notice is valid the tribunal will determine 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 if you had to wait for the tribunal decision.

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

You normally need specialist advice to do this.

Fair rents

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

Last updated: 21 April 2022

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