A common question for private tenants: can landlords increase rent? While yes, they can, you do have rights, and it’s important you’re aware of them. Let’s dig deeper into the ins and outs to answer some FAQs.
Can a landlord increase rent?
Landlords can increase rent, and the details of when this can happen (and how much by) should be outlined in your tenancy agreement.
Your landlord can’t just increase your rent whenever they like, by any amount. Generally-speaking, they must get your permission if they want to increase rent.
Depending on the type of tenancy you have, there are rules they have to follow. For example, with an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), your rent can be increased regularly, e.g. every year – though not all landlords will do this.
With periodic tenancies (e.g. rolling on week-by-week or month-by-month), your landlord can’t usually increase rent more than once a year – without your agreement.
Rent can only be increased if you agree to it. Otherwise, the rent can only be increased after the fixed term (e.g. a year).
How much can a landlord increase rent by?
Rent increases must be fair and realistic; in line with local average rents. These will depend on where you live, the property itself, and other factors.
When can your rent be increased?
Let’s explore some of the common circumstances where your rent may be increased. This could be if you:
- Have a rent review clause in your contract
- Agree to a new rental term
- Sign a new contract
- Get a section 13 notice
Rent review clause
It’s vital you read your contract carefully before signing anything – for many reasons. Not all agreements have them, but a rent review clause will set out in your contract how/when rent can be increased.
It should state:
- How much rent can increase by
- How much notice you’ll get
- When it can increase
Agree to a new rent
If your landlord rings or emails to ask/inform you of a rent increase, it can usually only happen if you agree to it.
Sign a new contract
Your landlord could offer you a new contract at a higher rent, if you agree and sign it, you’ll have to pay the new amount. They don’t need to give you notice of this new contract, but neither do you have to agree. If you don’t, your rent will stay the same.
A section 13 notice is when a landlord formally informs you of a rent increase. This can only happen once a year, and there are rules they must follow. Rent can only be increased if:
- Your agreement doesn’t have a rent review clause
- You have a periodic tenancy or AST
How much notice will you get?
Generally, with rent increases, your landlord must give you a minimum of one month’s notice (if you pay rent weekly or monthly). If you have a yearly tenancy, they must give you 6 months’ notice.
Can you stop a rent increase?
Depending on how your landlord tries to increase rent, you might be able to refuse it.
As mentioned, they must follow certain rules (outlined above). If they don’t, the rent increase can’t happen. Also, if they ask for it, but you’re under no obligation to agree, you can disagree – and your rent should stay the same.
How to challenge a rent increase
If you and your landlord can’t reach an agreement when it comes to the rent increase, you could challenge it.
For example, you could try and negotiate and meet in the middle. If they’re suggesting your rent increases from £800 a month to £850, you could ask for £825. Many landlords would rather slightly decrease their initial amount than lose you as a tenant, and have to find new ones.
You could also appeal to a tribunal, or contact Citizens Advice if necessary. Whatever you do, don’t stop paying rent even if you are challenging the rent increase, as you could fall into rent arrears.
Achieving financial health
It can be difficult to save while renting, and rent increases can only make life more difficult. A great tip is setting a monthly budget so you can get a better grip on your finances and control spending.
The financial decisions you make can impact your credit profile. To see where you stand, and make the necessary changes to improve it, check your credit score. It’s free to do!
Need more renting advice?
We have many guides and articles to help renters out there. Check out our advice on how to rent for everything you need to know.
Last Updated: November 8th, 2021