Can a landlord increase my rent? Well, sometimes yes and sometimes no. The rules about rent price increases are fairly simple and straight-forward, but as is the case with a lot of people renting, most people won’t know there rights and won’t know what owners are and aren't allowed to do. The main thing you need to know is what kind of tenancy agreement you have, because this is where the rules differ.
There are a few things you need to ask and take note of before a tenancy is signed and you begin renting your home: make sure you have the rent amount and date confirmed along with everything that is included in the rent drawn up in the contract, how the rent is going to be paid and most importantly - are there any “rent review” clauses in the contract.
If you are a renter with a fixed-term tenancy then the owner cannot increase the rent until the fixed term is over. The exceptions to this case being if you; a) agree to the rise, or b) there is a clause in the contract.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy / Assured tenancy
Owners are entitled to charge the “market rent” which tends to be the average price for rent in that particular area. Owners can only propose a rise in rent after the fixed term has been served, but only if they follow one or more of the following procedures:
1. Follow the terms for a rent increase drawn up in the contract
2. They send renters a written notice of the increase and a change of tenancy agreement
3. Renters and owners agree a rent price which must be signed and put in writing
4. They supply a “landlord’s notice proposing a new rent” form
It must also be agreed by the renter and the proposed increase must be fair, realistic and in line with local prices.If all is agreed then a new fixed-term tenancy begins with the increased price. Owners must give a minimum of one month’s notice if rent is paid weekly or monthly, and six month’s notice if renters have a yearly tenancy.
Please note that most owners are likely to wait until any type of fixed-term tenancy becomes a periodic tenancy (usually after an initial six-month tenancy) to increase prices. Reason being that if the terms are fair then renters will have to agree and pay to the increase or risk losing their rented house to eviction.
What to do when increases are unfair and unacceptable
In cases where a rent increase is unacceptable, for example; a contract has been broken, incorrect notice has been given or the suggested increase is unfairly high compared to the “market rate”, renters can apply to the “Residential Property Tribunal” to appeal. This must be done before the proposed new rental start date. If renters disagree with the proposed increase, it is advised to continue to pay the original rent amount, if you pay the increased amount then this is seen as an agreement and is legally binding.
If you're worried about your rights as a renter then please check our article here to find out more about your rights as a renter.