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Dealing with a rent increase

This advice applies to Wales

Your landlord needs to follow certain rules if they want you to pay more - these depend on the type of occupation contract 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.

You can only challenge the increase if you have a ‘converted contract’. You’ll be on a converted contract if you rented the same property before 1 December 2022.

Check your written statement

Check your written statement to see when your landlord can increase your rent.

It will depend on whether:

  • you have a converted contract
  • your contract started after 1 December 2022
  • you live with your landlord

Your landlord has to follow certain rules to increase your rent - the rules depend on what type of contract or other kind of agreement you have.

If you have a converted contract

Your landlord has to give you a 'section 123' notice to increase your rent.

If you have a converted contract, check if it’s:

  • a fixed term contract - this means it has an end date
  • a periodic standard contract - this means it doesn’t have an end date

If you have a fixed term contract, your landlord can only increase your rent at the end of the fixed term if you agree.

If you have a periodic standard contract, your landlord can increase your rent once a year. If they do, they have to give you 2 months’ notice.

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.

Talk to an adviser if your landlord tries to increase your rent and you need help.

If your fixed term contract has ended

Your landlord can increase your rent if you sign a new written statement when your fixed term ends.

Your new rent must be included in your new written statement or your landlord needs to tell you about the new rent amount before you sign the written statement.

If they just tell you the new amount, you should also ask for it in writing.

If you disagree with your rent increase you can try to agree to a new amount with your landlord or challenge it by asking a tribunal to decide for you.

Talk to an adviser if you think your landlord hasn't followed the correct process to increase your rent or if you disagree with the increase.

If you don’t agree your landlord has to give you a section 123 notice to increase your rent - they can only do this once a year. 

If your contract started after 1 December 2022

Your landlord has to give you a section 123 notice to increase your rent.

If your contract started after 1 December 2022, check if it’s:

  • a fixed term contract - this means it has an end date
  • a periodic standard contract - this means it doesn’t have an end date

If you have a fixed term contract, your landlord can’t increase your rent during the fixed term unless you agree. If you agree, your landlord must send you a new written statement within 14 days - it must include the new rent.

If you have a periodic standard contract, your landlord can increase your rent once a year and it’s unlikely you can challenge it. In some very rare cases you might be able to do that, but you’ll need to talk to an adviser to see if challenging your rent increase is possible.

Your landlord has to give you at least 2 months’ notice for a rent increase.

If you live with your landlord

Your landlord might be able to increase your rent - it depends on what kind of contract or agreement you have with them.

If you have a written statement

If your landlord gave you a written statement, it means you have an occupation contract.

Your landlord has to give you a section 123 notice to increase your rent.
If your contract started after 1 December 2022, check if it’s:

  • a fixed term contract - this means it has an end date
  • a periodic standard contract - this means it doesn’t have an end date

If you have a fixed term contract, your landlord can’t increase your rent during the fixed term unless you agree. If you agree, your landlord must send you a new written statement within 14 days - it must include the new rent.

If you have a periodic standard contract, your landlord can increase your rent once a year and it’s unlikely you can challenge it. In some very rare cases you might be able to do that, but you’ll need to talk to an adviser to see if challenging your rent increase is possible.

If you have an agreement 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. If you agree, you and your landlord need to sign a new agreement.

Talk to an adviser 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 contract holder.

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 - you can use a 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 ask a tribunal to decide for you. It’s free to do this.

You can only challenge a rent increase if you have a converted contract - check how you can challenge a rent increase.

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.

Talk to an adviser for help before challenging your rent increase because some landlords can be difficult - they might try to make you leave the property.

If you need support in challenging your rent increase

Talk to an adviser 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 your benefits provider about the increase before it starts and send them evidence of the increase - for example a letter from your landlord.

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.

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.

Talk to an adviser 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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