What Can I Do If My Landlord Raises The Rent?
In the UK, there are regulations in place to ensure that landlords can't just jack up your rent willy-nilly, so you've got rights. Let's walk through what you need to know and what you can do to cope.
Understanding the Rent Raising Legislation
First off, it's crucial to understand the laws around rent increases in the UK. In England, if you have an assured shorthold tenancy, which is the most common type of rental agreement, your landlord can't increase your rent unless you agree to it or they've included a clause in your contract (often referred to as a rent review clause). If there's no agreement, they'll need to go through a formal process, either by using a Section 13 notice if you're on a rolling contract, or waiting until your fixed term ends.
You can find out which type of tenancy agreement you have on the Shelter website: Tenancy status checker.
A helpful quote from the Private Renting section of the gov.uk website sets out the legislation simply:
- For a periodic tenancy (rolling on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis) your landlord cannot normally increase the rent more than once a year without your agreement.
- For a fixed-term tenancy (running for a set period) your landlord can only increase the rent if you agree. If you do not agree, the rent can only be increased when the fixed term ends.
In Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, the rules can vary, but in general, rent can't be increased more than once a year and landlords need to give you proper notice. We've included a few links to advice for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at the bottom if this article.
Now, here's the potential kicker: there's no legal limit on how much your rent can be increased. But don't panic just yet. If you think the increase is unreasonable, you can challenge it.
Remember: you can rate your landlord on Marks Out Of Tenancy
So, what can you do when the dreaded rent increase lands in your inbox? Here's a handy guide to help you navigate your next steps.
1. Know Your Rights
Understanding your rights as a tenant is your first line of defence. Do some research or seek advice from Citizens Advice or Shelter, both of which offer brilliant resources for UK renters.
2. Check Your Tenancy Agreement
Take a good look at your tenancy agreement. Does it include a rent review clause? If not, and you're still within your fixed term, your landlord can't increase or raise your rent without your agreement.
3. Negotiate that rent rise
Don't be afraid to negotiate. If the increase is too much for your budget, talk to your landlord. Explain your situation - they might not realise the financial impact this could have on you. Remember, it's often more hassle for them to find new tenants than to keep the ones they have.
4. Challenge the Rent Increase
If you think the rent increase or rent raise is unfair, you can challenge it. You'll need to apply to the First-tier Tribunal (in England) or a rent assessment committee (in Wales). They'll assess whether the increase is fair based on local market rents for similar properties.
5. Get Advice from Expert Housing Professionals
If you're unsure about anything, get advice. There are lots of organisations out there who can help, like the Citizens Advice, Shelter, or a local Law Centre.
Here are some other websites that discuss how to deal with rising rents or rent increases:
Citizens Advice: Dealing with a rent increase
Citizens Advice: Challenging a rent increase
Shelter: Rent increases for private tenants
Scottish Government: If your landlord increases the rent
Welsh Government: Fair rents
Northern Ireland: Private rent and tenancies
6. Consider Your Options
If your landlord isn't budging and you can't afford the increase, it might be time to consider your options. Is it time to start looking for a new place?
Remember, folks, you're not alone in this. It's a tough situation to be in, but there's help out there. Don't be afraid to speak up and fight for a fair deal. After all, everyone deserves a home they can afford.
Stay strong and stay informed, friends!