Can My Landlord Increase My Rent?
The question of ‘how much can my landlord increase the rent?’ is one that renters all over the world ask, and with good reason too! When you start renting, an increase in the rent is more than likely at some point, but there are certain rules in place to make sure you are not ambushed with a steep rental increase.
In general terms, a landlord needs to have a renters’ agreement in place before an increase can be finalised. This agreement must be ‘fair and realistic’, which sounds great. But what does it mean? Keep reading for more information about ‘fair and realistic’ rent increases, as well as how much a landlord can increase the rent by, when they can do it and how you can react to financial changes.
Why has my landlord increased my rent?
In the UK the law states that landlords can charge as much rent as they want. Obviously, in reality, landlords realise they are providing a service, and property rental prices reflect the area where they’re located. Part of this is down to market demand, which coincides with charging a ‘fair and realistic’ rent.
If a landlord wants to increase your rent, it should be in line with the amount other landlords are charging in the area. Other factors may include personal circumstances, which leave the landlord feeling like they have no choice but to increase the rent. However, even with personal circumstances coming into play, landlords can’t just go and increase the rent whenever they feel like it.
When can my landlord increase my rent?
Now that you’re up to date on why your landlord might raise the rent, it’s time to get you up to speed on when this might happen. If you have an AST (Assured Tenancy Shorthold) in place, you are protected against rent increases throughout the duration of this agreement.
A landlord can request to increase your rent, but you can reject it until the end of your original agreement. If a landlord requests to raise the rent more than once in a year, again, you have the right to deny the request. It is also important to note that at least one month’s notice needs to be given before any rental increase can occur.
Your landlord can increase the rent once the AST finishes. At this point, they will either draw up a new contract or you will go onto a rolling contract. During a rolling contract, you can vacate the property at any time, as long as you provide one month’s notice.
How much can my landlord increase my rent by?
So, here is the term ‘fair and realistic’ again. But what does this mean? Basically, your landlord can only raise rent if they are in line with the current market value. Usually, the percentage a landlord should raise their rent sits between 0.5 and 5%. On occasion, if you’re renting in an area that suddenly becomes very popular, rental raises can be up to 10%, but this is rare.
Responding to rent increases
Firstly, it is vital that your landlord presents any rent increase in writing. This can be in the form of a new tenancy agreement, a written record of the agreement for you both to sign or using a ‘landlords notice proposing new rent’ form.
If you are in agreement with the rent increase, all you need to do is sign. However, if you disagree, you should communicate your stance with the landlord while you are still paying the original amount of rent. If the issue is not resolved, you can apply for a tribunal if you have an AST or if your rent was increased under a ‘Section 13’ procedure.
What is Section 13?
A formal notice of a rent increase is called a Section 13 notice. It cannot be used by your landlord more than once a year and it can only be issued if you have a periodic assured or assured shorthold tenancy, and your agreement doesn’t contain a rent review clause or the clause is now void.
Generally speaking, a landlord will value you if you are a good tenant. If you pay your rent on time and keep the house in good condition, you shouldn’t face any issues regarding an unfair rental raise. Simply make sure you are aware of your rights as a tenant and communicate clearly and politely with your landlord or agent should the need arise.