Rent issues are one of the most common landlord and tenant disputes in the UK. Rented properties are high in demand due to the number of people unable to place their feet firmly on the property ladder. This has of course led some landlords to charge higher levels of rent due to the demand for rented accommodation. Here is useful guide to help you understand the legalities behind rent agreements and how you can seek help if you are being charged unfairly.
Before signing a tenancy agreement
When you are looking for a property to rent, always double check that the rent advertised is the correct amount that you will be charged each month. Before signing a tenancy agreement, make sure that you are able to pay the rent for the foreseeable future.
Can my landlord increase my rent without my consent?
Although a landlord can initially charge as much as they want, if you have signed a fixed term tenancy contract (usually 6 or 12 months), the landlord is not allowed to increase the rent during this fixed term tenancy without your content.
Within your fixed term tenancy agreement, if there is reference to ‘rental reviews,’ the amount of rent you pay can be changed. To avoid this, always check that your tenancy agreement doesn’t include rental reviews.
When a fixed term tenancy is coming to an end, your landlord is allowed to issue you with a ‘notice of increase,’ informing you that there will be a rent increase if you want to continue living in the property. The landlord must give you at least 2 months’ notice of the rent increase.
It is only once your fixed term tenancy has ended that your landlord is legally allowed to increase your rent.
What can I do if my landlord increases my rent?
First of all, you don’t have to accept the increase. There are several ways in which you could try and settle a fair rent agreement with your landlord.
Negotiate– You could try and work together to come up with a rent agreement which suits both parties.
All Inclusive – A landlord may be willing to include the expense of some household bills within a higher rent agreement. For example, some landlords include water bills or a TV license within the rent in return of the increase.
Maintenance – If a landlord is asking for more money, there needs to be some sort of justification for it. This is the ideal time to ask your landlord to carry out maintenance or improvement work within the property in return of the increase.
Are some landlords exempt from these laws?
A live-in landlord can charge as much rent as they want for their property. If the landlord is present in the property and you are living there as a ‘lodger,’ your rights to refuse a rent increase is very slim. If you are not willing to, or cannot afford to pay a higher level of rent you can either try to negotiate with the landlord or find other suitable accommodation.
If you started renting your property before January 15 1989 you will be classed as a ‘protected tenant.’ This means that your landlord is unable to increase your rent without permission from an independent rent office. The independent rent office will negotiate a fair price with the landlord for the property, which effectively prevents the landlord from charging you unfairly.
Who can I speak to if my landlord increases my rent?
If your landlord is proposing to, or has already increased your rent which you feel is not within their legal rights, you can talk to one of Roskell Davies’ solicitors who have a wealth of experience in dealing with common landlord and tenant disputes.
To find out more about our landlord and tenant dispute services, click here.
Contact us today on 0800 142 2901. All initial enquiries are free. Alternatively you can fill in our online enquiry form.