Know your rights

🏠Housing Law – Understanding Rent Increases 🏠 

in the Private Rented Sector  

This is the first part of a mini-series which will focus on some common housing law issues that our clients are facing regularly.  

Learning that you may have a rent increase can be incredibly stressful due to the financial impact this can have on your household. Knowing what rights you have available to you in this situation can provide a sense of relief and control.  

Please note that this article serves as informative guidance with links to resources where you can find help. This article is not legal advice and if you do require assistance to solve a housing law issue you are facing, we recommend that you seek proper legal advice before taking any action.  

Typical problems which can arise from rent increases:  

  • a sudden or unexpected increase, making it difficult to manage finances; 
  • failure from a landlord to follow proper legal procedures; 
  • miscommunication or misunderstanding about how much the increase will be; 
  • retaliatory increases by the landlord if the tenant wishes to exercise their rights by requesting a repair for example.  

What the law says 

This will depend on the type of tenancy you have. If you are not sure what type of tenancy you have, please use Shelters tenancy checker 

Fixed-Term Tenancies – your landlord cannot increase your rent unless you agree to this or your contract contains a ‘rent review’ clause.  

Periodic Tenancies – your landlord cannot increase your rent unless you agree to this, your contract contains a ‘rent review’ clause OR your landlord serves you with a Section 13 notice. Find out more about Section 13 notices here 

What does a ‘rent review’ clause look like? 

A rent review clause should: 

  • be written in clear and unambiguous language; 
  • specify the exact date on which the rent will be reviewed; and  
  • specify the method used to determine the new rent such as Retail Prices Index (RPI) or the market rate for similar properties in the area.  

Have you received a Section 13 notice and believe that you shouldn’t have?  

You should not receive a Section 13 notice if you have a ‘rent review’ clause in your tenancy agreement already and/or you are in the fixed-term period of your tenancy.  

Resources and services if you need support:  

The following free resources explain the law in this area:  

ShelterThey offer a huge wealth of guidance on legal procedures and tenant rights. 

Citizens Advice – Check if your landlord can increase your rent and details on challenging a rent increase. 

Find a local law centre 

If you are struggling with financial difficulties, please see the following free resources:  

Asking the council for homeless help 

Have you been given an eviction notice?you may be eligible for free advice from the government

StepChange – if you require debt advice

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