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Dealing with a rent increase

This advice applies to England

Your landlord can't just increase your rent whenever they like, or by any amount. They need to follow certain rules if they want you to pay more - these depend on the type of tenancy you have.

If you disagree with your rent increase the best thing you can do is talk to your landlord and try to reach an agreement to pay a lower rent.

If you can’t reach an agreement you can challenge the increase.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you don't feel confident speaking to your landlord or you need help to challenge your increase.

Get advice before your rent increase starts. If you pay the new rent, your landlord will usually be able to treat this as an acceptance of the new rate and you won't be able to challenge it.

If you get Housing Benefit (or housing costs payments through Universal Credit) you might be able to get extra money to deal with your rent increase. Tell the housing team at the council about the increase before it starts and send evidence, for example a letter from your landlord.

Check your tenancy agreement  

Your landlord has to follow certain rules to increase your rent - the rules depend on what type of tenancy you have.

You’II usually be given an ‘assured shorthold tenancy’. Your rent can be increased regularly with this type of tenancy, for example every year - not all landlords will do this though.

Check what type of tenancy you have using Shelter's tenancy rights checker - you can use this even if you don't have a written tenancy agreement.

If you have an assured shorthold or assured tenancy

Your landlord can increase your rent based on something called 'market rates'. This is the average cost of similar properties in your local area.

Check the price of properties in your area so you know how much your rent should be on average. You can do this by looking at similar properties in estate agent windows, or by looking on property search websites.

Your landlord won’t be able to increase your rent during the fixed term of your tenancy unless you agree or your tenancy agreement allows it.

If your fixed term tenancy agreement allows your rent to be increased it has to say when and how it will be done. This is known as having a 'rent review clause'.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if there's nothing in your tenancy agreement about rent increases during your fixed term and your landlord tries to increase your rent. 

Your fixed term tenancy has ended

Your landlord can increase your rent if you sign a new tenancy agreement when your fixed term ends. Your new rent must be included in your new agreement or your landlord needs to tell you about the new rent amount before you sign the agreement. If they just tell you the new amount also ask for it in writing.

Your agreement doesn’t say what happens after the fixed term

If your tenancy agreement doesn’t say what happens after your fixed term ends and you continue to rent, your landlord has to give you notice before they can increase your rent. They must use a form called a section 13 notice. - form 4 on GOV.UK 

Even if there is a rent review clause in your agreement your landlord will still need to use a section 13 notice to increase your rent.

Your agreement says your tenancy continues after the fixed term

If your tenancy agreement says your tenancy will continue after your fixed term and you don’t have a rent review clause your landlord can increase your rent by using a section 13 notice. - form 4 on GOV.UK .

If there is a rent review clause in your agreement your landlord won’t normally need to use a section 13 notice to increase your rent.

Notice your landlord has to give you to increase rent

The amount of notice your landlord has to give you to increase your rent depends on the length of your tenancy period. For example if your tenancy runs from month to month then your tenancy period is one month. If it runs quarter to quarter then your tenancy period is three months.

Length of your tenancy period Minimum notice you have to be given
1 year 6 months' notice
Between 1 to 11 months

One period of the tenancy                                 

Less than 1 month

1 month's notice

If you disagree with your rent increase you can try to agree a new amount with your landlord or challenge it by appealing to a rent tribunal before the increase takes place.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you think your landlord hasn't followed the correct process to increase your rent or if you disagree with the increase.

You don't have a fixed term tenancy 

If you didn’t agree to rent your home for a fixed term your landlord can just increase your rent by reaching an agreement with you.

You might have agreed with your landlord when you started your tenancy that your rent could be increased at a certain point. In this case your landlord can increase your rent in the way you agreed - this could be verbally or as your tenancy agreement says.

If you didn’t agree that your rent could be increased during your tenancy your landlord can only increase your rent by using a  section 13 notice. - form 4 on GOV.UK .

Your landlord can only use a section 13 notice to increase your rent every 52 weeks. The amount of notice they have to give you will be the same as the notice for fixed term tenancies.

If you live with your landlord

Your landlord can increase your rent by any amount if you live with them.

If you think your rent increase is too high check the price of properties in your area so you know how much your rent should be on average. You can do this by looking at similar properties in estate agent windows, or by looking on property search websites.

If you have a fixed term agreement

Your landlord can’t increase your rent during your fixed term unless you agree or your agreement allows it.

If your agreement says your rent can be increased it has to say when and how it will be done. This is known as having a ‘rent review clause’.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if there's nothing in your agreement about rent increases during your fixed term and your landlord tries to increase your rent.

You don’t have a fixed term agreement

Your landlord doesn't have to follow set rules to increase your rent if your fixed term agreement has ended or you never had an agreement. In most cases, your rent can be increased at any time.

You don't have the right to challenge a rent increase if you live with your landlord, but you can try talking with your landlord if they want to put the rent up. Suggest a rent that you think is fair - they might agree to it.

If you can’t reach an agreement your landlord can evict you quite easily if you don’t accept the increase.

Find out more about your rights if you live with your landlord.

Reaching an agreement with your landlord

Ask your landlord if you can pay slightly less than they're suggesting. For example, if your landlord wants to increase the rent from £750 per month to £800 per month, suggest meeting in the middle and paying £775.

Your landlord might negotiate on price rather than risk losing you as a tenant.

Before trying to reach an agreement look at how much similar properties cost to rent in your area. Use this as evidence to show why your rent shouldn’t be increased.

You should also get an idea of what you can afford by using our budgeting tool.  

If you can’t reach an agreement with your landlord

If you decide the rent increase is fair but is just too high for you, think carefully about your options before deciding to leave.

Check if you can get help to pay your rent. If you’re on a low income or get benefits you might be able to get Housing Benefit (or housing costs payments through Universal Credit) for example.

If you decide to move out make sure you’ve found a new place to live before you leave. You might not be able to get any help from your local council if you leave a home that could have been affordable. Find out more about getting housing help from the council.

Challenging your rent increase

If you haven’t been able to get your landlord to agree to a lower rent you can appeal to a tribunal for rent complaints. It’s free to do this. 

Don’t stop paying your current rent even if you challenge the increase -  otherwise you’ll get into rent arrears.  If you get into rent arrears, your landlord can try to evict you if they follow the correct process.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help before challenging your rent increase because some landlords can be difficult, they might try to make you to leave the property.

If you don’t pay your rent increase

If you aren’t able to stop your rent being increased by reaching an agreement or challenging it, and you don’t pay the new amount your landlord can try to evict you.

Don’t worry – you can’t be evicted straight away. Your landlord has to follow an eviction process unless you live with them. This involves giving you written notice to leave the property first before getting a court order. Find out more about dealing with eviction.

If you live with your landlord they can evict you more easily by just giving you reasonable notice to leave, which could be a very short amount of time.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice before deciding not to pay your rent increase. It’s important to get help early so you can avoid getting evicted.

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