How Much Can a Landlord Increase Rent?

Rent increases are an important aspect of the rental property business. They can help landlords cover rising property expenses and mitigate the impact of inflation, but they can also make it harder for tenants to keep up with their rent payments. While there is no legal cap on how much a private landlord can increase rent, there are other things to consider before a landlord goes ahead with the uptick.

There’s no specific limit on how much a private landlord can increase rent. However, the increase must be fair and reasonable.

To determine a fair rent increase, the landlord must consider changes in the local rental market trend, the condition of the property and the inflation rates. The landlord can also refer to indices such as the retail price index or the consumer price index.

If you feel that the rent increase by your landlord is too high or excessive, the matter can be referred to a First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for review. The tribunal will consider the evidence tables and evaluate the proposed rent increase. If your house has mould growing or any other issues, Housing Disrepair Barking can help you claim compensation.

If the tribunal finds the rent increase unfair, they can reject it and also prevent future increases for a specified period.

When Can a Landlord Increase Rent in the UK?

The type of tenancy agreement you have determines when and how often the landlord can increase rent in the UK.

Fixed-term tenancy

During a fixed-term tenancy, the landlord can increase the rent only if the tenancy agreement includes a rent-review clause. The clause should also specify when the rent increase can happen.

If there is no review clause, the only other time the rent can be increased is at the end of the fixed-term tenancy agreement or if you, as the tenant, agree.

Periodic tenancy

In a periodic tenancy, the landlord typically increases rent once a year. If there’s a rent review clause, the tenant has to agree.

If a rent review clause is not included, the landlord can increase the rent only by negotiating or issuing a legal rent increase notice, which can only be issued once a year. The new rent will start at the beginning of a new tenancy period.

Does the Landlord Need to Give Notice to Increase Rent?

During a fixed-term tenancy, the landlord cannot demand a rent increase unless a rent review clause is included in the tenancy agreement.

If the clause exists, the landlord can raise rent while the tenancy is ongoing. However, the clause must clearly outline the specifics of how and when the rental increase will occur.

If the clause is absent and you have a 12-month fixed-term tenancy, you should expect to receive a six-month notice before any rent increase takes effect.

If you're in a periodic tenancy, landlords must provide a minimum notice period of one month for any rent increase. This applies to tenants on a weekly and monthly rent schedule.

Can a Tenant Dispute a Rent Increase?

Tenants can dispute a proposed rent increase by the landlord if they believe it's unfair or unrealistic. But there’s no guarantee that your dispute will be upheld.

If you have a good relationship with your landlord, the best way to resolve the dispute is without the involvement of another party. You can try to negotiate and reach a compromise on the new rent figure, which can help you find a balance and fair amount that works for both the landlord and the tenant.

However, in other situations, the landlord may be forced to take the dispute to a tribunal, which will then decide on a fair and realistic rent. The tribunal can set a new rent for the tenancy. To avoid such challenges, landlords should consider the monthly rent of other similar properties as a guideline for their rental increase.

How Your Property Type Can Impact Your Renting Rights

Your rent can increase by a certain amount depending on your property type, renting rights and responsibilities, and contract.

Social housing

There’s a rent increase cap that protects people in social housing from unfair rent increases. This means rent prices for social housing can only increase by a set percentage compared to the previous year.

The government sets the cap for social housing rent increases every year. However, the cap varies depending on where you live in the UK and changes every year.

If you live in social housing, you must be given notice in advance before the rent is increased. In other parts of the UK, like England and Northern Ireland, you must be given at least 28 days' notice. In Wales, the notice is two months; in Scotland, it is three months.

Private Rented Accommodation

The rent cap doesn't protect residents living in private rented accommodation. This allows private landlords to increase rent by any amount as long as they follow what's outlined in the tenancy agreement, including the rent increase clause if there is one.

How Does a Landlord Propose an Increase in Rent?

There are several ways landlords can propose rent increases, such as the following:

New tenancy agreements

A landlord can introduce a rent increase through a new tenancy agreement with higher rent payments at the end of your current one. This is the most straightforward option to use when increasing rent.

Through the rent review clause

The landlord can also increase rent using the rent review clause in your current agreement. This clause details a timeline within which the landlord can review and increase the rent and guides the terms of the increase.

Agreeing with the tenant

If there's no rent increase clause, the landlord can discuss the rent increase with the tenant and agree on how much to increase the rent. Getting written proof of the agreement with both signatures is a good idea if this happens.

Section 13 notice

Finally, the landlord can invoke Section 13 of the Housing Act of 1988, which allows the landlord to raise rent on assured shorthold tenancies once a year. However, Section 13 can only be served during a periodic tenancy, which is a tenancy without a specific end date.

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