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Fair rents for different tenancies

This content applies to England

Rules about fair rents and rent increases specific to different types of tenancy.

The rules governing rents and rent increases for tenants entitled to fair rents vary depending on the particular type of tenancy concerned, and whether the tenancy is in its contractual or statutory period. The information below outlines the basic situation for each type of tenancy.

Regulated tenancies

There are two stages to a regulated tenancy (see the section on Regulated tenancies for more details):

  • Contractual/protected tenancy : the initial agreement between a landlord and tenant is the contractual period of the tenancy, known as the protected tenancy - this may be fixed term or periodic.
  • Statutory tenancy : once the contractual tenancy has come to an end or has been terminated (see the page on ending a regulated tenancy), the tenancy becomes a statutory periodic tenancy - statutory because it is protected by legislation (the Rent Act 1977) and periodic because it is based on the rental period.

At the start of the contractual/protected stage of a regulated tenancy, if there is no fair rent already registered on the dwelling, the landlord and tenant are free to agree on any rent level. If there is an uncancelled rent registered on the property, the maximum rent recoverable is that of the registered rent unless the tenant holds a tenancy of different premises, for example, the tenant may have a tenancy of additional or different rooms in the dwelling.

During the statutory tenancy the amount of rent recoverable from the tenant depends on the position at the date of the termination of the protected tenancy. If no fair rent was registered in the contractual period, the rent recoverable is that recovered in the last contractual period. Where a fair rent was registered in the contractual period, the registered rent is the maximum recoverable until there is a reregistration.

Statutory tenants under the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976

The landlord and tenant can at any time agree a rent but this cannot be more than the registered fair rent for the dwelling or, if no fair rent is registered, the weekly or other periodic equivalent of a rent fixed at one and a half times the rateable value of the dwelling.[1] The fair rent provisions in section 70 of the Rent Act 1977 apply. Where there is a registration (or reregistration) of a fair rent, this can only be recovered from the tenant by a notice of increase.[2] For more information see the section on Agricultural tenancies.

Housing association secure tenants and pre-Housing Act 1988 contractual tenants

All secure tenancies of housing associations and pre-Housing Act 1988 contractual tenants (housing co-operatives) are subject to the fair rent regime. A special fair rent regime applies[3] which is very similar to that governing regulated tenancies but with the following differences:

  • There is no provision for the cancellation of a registered rent by agreement.
  • If there is a clause in the tenancy agreement which allows for an increase in the rent then the rent can be increased without a reference to the rent officer using the procedure in the agreement. The rent can, however, still be challenged by reference to the rent officer. If this is done then the registered rent will be the maximum that can be recovered.
  • If there is no clause in the agreement allowing for a rent increase then the only way the rent can be increased is by reference to a rent officer, although the rent officer will not automatically increase the rent.
  • With a periodic tenancy, the rent may be increased up to the rent limit with effect from the start of any rental period without terminating the tenancy; the landlord must give the tenant notice in writing of not less than four weeks.[4] With a fixed-term tenancy the rent cannot be increased during the term unless the agreement contains a rent review clause.

[1] s.12(7) and (9) Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976.

[2] s.14(2) and s.15 Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976.

[3] s.87 Rent Act 1977.

[4] s.93 Rent Act 1977.

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