With house prices at record highs and wages not keeping up, many people are finding it difficult to afford homes. Whether you’re renting to save for a mortgage deposit or because it’s a good financial move for you, finding out the most a landlord can raise your rent in the UK might be in your best interest. Here’s what you need to know.
Are UK landlords allowed to increase rent?
The short answer is yes. But there are a couple of things you might need to keep in mind.
Firstly, tenancy agreements should include a rent review clause highlighting when your rent will be reviewed. It should also outline the procedure for doing so. Secondly, a landlord must get your permission before increasing the rent.
If you’re on a periodic tenancy (weekly, monthly or annually), your landlord shouldn’t increase your UK rent more than once a year. It’s also worth noting that if you pay rent weekly or monthly, then your landlord must give you a minimum of one month’s notice. For those paying annually, landlords must give at least six months’ notice. These notices are termed ‘section 13 notices’.
On the other hand, if you’re in a fixed-term tenancy that runs for a set period, your landlord can only increase your rent if you agree. If you don’t, the landlord can only increase your rent after the fixed term ends.
What’s the most a landlord can raise rent in the UK?
In the UK, there is no set limit on how much a landlord can raise the rent they charge. However, the government states that if a landlord is increasing rent, it must be fair and realistic (in line with average local rents).
That said, it’s not uncommon for landlords to increase rent by 2-5% annually to cover inflation, mortgage interest increases or repair and maintenance costs. This, for many renters or landlords, can be considered a realistic and fair increase.
However, there could be cause for concern if the rent increase is above 5% and you notice, for example:
- Your landlord doesn’t carry out repairs or property maintenance
- The cost of living is low and there are no signs of inflation
- Other landlords in your locality haven’t increased rent for similar properties
Contact your landlord to find out the reason for the increase before pursuing formal measures. There may be a viable reason, and you might be able to negotiate and come to an understanding.
Can I challenge my UK rent?
If your landlord is adamant about charging unrealistic rent regardless of your negotiating efforts, you could try applying to a tribunal. However, this must be done before the new rent comes into effect. The date should be on your section 13 notice.
Keep in mind, though that you can only apply to a tribunal if:
- You have an assured or assured shorthold tenancy
- Your rent has been increased as part of a ‘section 13 procedure’
After receiving your application, the tribunal will consider the cost of renting similar properties in your locality. They might also consider what your landlord could charge a new tenant renting the property.
Based on the findings, the tribunal will decide whether the rent increase is fair or not. If the new rent turns out to be fair, you will have to pay it.