So you finally found the apartment of your dreams in London. You've bought all the furniture, plants and things to make your flat look and feel like home. And then, out of the blue, your landlord decides to increase your rent. Hold on, my darlings, don't fret.
Having lived in rented accommodation for over a decade, I know a thing or two and I'm here to share everything I know to answer the question:
What should I do if my landlord increases my rent?
First of all, always remember that you have rights. It's not that your landlord can just raise the rent if he's having a bad day or something. Second, let's carefully look at the law.
The UK official government website, says that:
- For a periodic tenancy (rolling on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis) your landlord can increase the rent only once in 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 don’t agree, the rent can only be increased when the fixed term ends.
If the increase is something you can't afford or you disagree with, try to talk to your landlord and try to reach an agreement to pay a lower amount.
If you can’t reach an agreement you can challenge the increase by looking at the law.
How your landlord must propose a rent increase
As mentioned, your landlord can't suddenly decide to increase your rent. They must follow some rules. If your tenancy agreement contains a set moment for increasing rent (normally after 6/12 months from the start of the contract), they can decide to do so by following what's stated in the contract. If the contract doesn't state anything about the rent increase, they must choose among the following options:
- renew your tenancy agreement at the end of the fixed term, but with an increased rent
- agree to a rent increase with you and produce a written record of the agreement that you both sign
- use a ‘Landlord’s notice proposing a new rent’ form, which increases the rent after the fixed term has ended
Can I negotiate the increase?
If possible, find out why your landlord wants to increase the rent. Is it due to market value increases or higher fees being imposed by their rental agency? You should be able to find out the reasons and then, try to negotiate a lower increase with your landlord. If this is not feasible, then you can try to negotiate some home improvements in exchange for the increased rent. Make sure to point out the benefits of having you as a tenant (payment on time, you're keeping the place clean and tidy etc). You might find out that they actually prefer to have a good tenant and not apply any rent increase instead of starting the process of finding new people. Once you've settled the matter, make sure to get the new agreement in writing.
Ask for a longer Fixed-Term Tenancy contract
As you read above, in a rolling Periodic Tenancy, the landlord is legally allowed to increase the rent to market value whenever they wish, with one month's notice. However in a Fixed Term Tenancy, changes to rent can only be made at the end of the contract or when there is a rent review clause in your contract. Make sure to ask for a longer tenancy (12 of 18 months) to be sure that rent won’t rise for that period.
How much notice am I entitled?
Packing and moving house is a pain, we all know that. That's why, 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.
Remember that the rent increase must be fair and realistic, i.e. in line with average local rents. So, if you live in Brixton, make sure to check out other properties in the area to get an idea of what the average is.
Would you like more tips about renting an apartment? Make sure to check our brand new collection of Tenant Tips.
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