Landlords don’t like asking for them, and tenants certainly aren’t mad about hearing one is on the horizon. Yep, today we’re talking rent increases.
We’re going to be looking at how much landlords can raise rent by and give you an overview of what an average rent increase in the UK looks like.
Let’s dive straight in.
When can a landlord ask for a rent increase?
Before we get to the question of how much a landlord can raise your rent by, we need to look at when they can ask for an increase. This seemingly straightforward query actually has two different answers, depending on the type of tenancy you’re currently in: periodic or fixed-term.
Here’s how the government defines the ‘when’ question:
For a periodic tenancy (rolling on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis) your landlord cannot normally increase the rent more than once a year without your agreement.
For a fixed-term tenancy (running for a set period) your landlord can only increase the rent if you agree. If you do not agree, the rent can only be increased when the fixed term ends.
How much notice does a landlord need to give?
In the vast majority of cases, assured shorthold tenancies will begin as fixed-term agreements, but some of those may evolve into periodic tenancies. It’s important to know which type of tenancy you’re currently in.
Landlords cannot demand a rent increase during a fixed-term tenancy without a rent review clause being present within your tenancy agreement. If there is one in place, your landlord does have the right to increase your rent during the tenancy. However, it must explicitly state how and when rental increases will happen.
If no rent review clause is present, you can expect to receive six month’s notice on a 12 month fixed-term tenancy. For those on a periodic tenancy, a minimum of one month’s notice must be given by the landlord.
How much can a landlord raise rent by?
Landlords are free to increase rent as they see fit…within reason. The government stipulates that landlords must be fair and realistic about rental increases, which basically means rents should increase in line with local averages.
So, if you are currently renting a three bedroom semi for £1,800 per month, but similar properties in the area are fetching £2,000, your landlord would be within their rights to ask for a £200 per month increase, despite that rental increase coming in at a whopping 11%.
If, however, the same landlord proposed a new rental charge of £2,500, that increase wouldn’t pass the ‘fair and realistic’ test, and the tenant would be right to challenge such a demand.
Rent increases: UK averages
According to the Office for National Statistics, private rental prices paid by tenants across the United Kingdom rose by 2.4% in the year leading up to March 2022:
Can tenants refuse an increase in rent?
Yes. If a tenant feels as though the increase their landlord is proposing is neither fair nor realistic, they can challenge it.
That being said, it’s always a good idea to talk with your landlord before you go down the legal route of asking for a tribunal. Many landlords will be willing to listen and come to an agreement, especially if you are regarded as a ‘good tenant’. If, however, you cannot come to an agreement, an application for tribunal should be made.
Bear in mind that you must keep paying your current rent in the meantime. Failing to keep up with your rental payments will put you in arrears, which could be used against you by your landlord and may ultimately end up with you being evicted if they follow the correct procedure.
For more information on challenging a rental increase, visit Citizens Advice and Shelter for comprehensive guides to the process. We’ve also got a post on free legal guidance when renting if you want to check that out, too.
If you’re looking to rent in or around the capital, give us a call today. Our friendly lettings experts will help you find the right home and ensure your move will be as smooth as it possibly can be.