If you’re a tenant living on a tight budget, you’ll know it can sometimes be a struggle to make sure all of your bills are paid on time every month. You might feel like you’re not going to being able to afford to make all of the payments sometimes – that’s why when one of your bills increases, it can really make things difficult.
But what if your landlord writes to you to tell you that your rent will be increasing – are they allowed to do this? And how much can your rent increase by? Let’s take a look at the laws around whether your landlord can increase your rent.
When you’re still in the initial fixed-term of your tenancy, your landlord usually can’t increase your rent. This means that if you rented a flat on a 12-month contract, the rent shouldn’t increase at least until the end of the 12 months. Your landlord will only be able to do this if there’s a clause in your tenancy agreement that says the rent can be increased – so check this for any details.
However, if your fixed-term contract has ended and you’ve moved onto a periodic rolling contract, your landlord will be able to increase the rent. They usually can’t do this more than once a year and they have to give you a reasonable amount of notice that your rent will be going up. If you pay your rent weekly or monthly, your landlord will have to give you at least one month’s notice and if you have a yearly tenancy, they’ll have to give you a minimum of six months’ notice.
Your landlord can’t increase your rent without getting your written permission. This means that you are able to decline any rent increases but obviously your landlord will reserve the right to evict you from the property at the end of any fixed-term tenancy agreement.
What you can do
If you don’t want to pay the rent increase, as we’ve said, there’s not really much you can do. As a tenant on an assured shorthold tenancy (which you’re likely to be unless you rent from a council or housing association), your landlord doesn’t have to have a reason to evict you at the end of your fixed term. This means they might just decide to find a new tenant who is happy to pay the higher level of rent.
Your landlord should be charging you what’s known as a ‘market rent’, meaning it’s in line with the average rent for your area. If you think they’re overcharging you or if they’ve increased your rent by too much, you can apply to the Rent Assessment Committee (RAC) once, within six months of the beginning of the original tenancy.
Alternatively, you may just decide it’s easier to find somewhere else to rent, especially if there are cheaper properties in your area. If you’re looking for some tips, check out our blogs on finding a flatmate or moving out of your parents’ house.