Can my landlord increase the rent?

Chances are you’ve seen that rents are rising, and it’s not just in Nottingham – it’s across the whole country. 

This is usually because the number of tenants looking for homes is bigger than the properties available. Landlords know this and they don’t have to compete for tenants, so they are tempted to increase the rent.

In Nottingham, we are still one of the top 20 most affordable cities in the country and we are still only on a par with places like Leicester and Birmingham.

The Selective Licensing fee should not lead to landlords increasing rents – even landlords without accreditation will pay £780, which is only paying the equivalent of £3 per week over a 5 year period.

But remember that there are several rules that govern how much and when a landlord can put up the rent. So what happens if your landlord wants to up your rent while you are still the tenant – well their options are limited, by law.

The rules of raising the rent

  • If you have a fixed-term contract such as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy running for a set period – usually between six months and year – then your landlord cannot increase the rent without your agreement. If you refuse the rent rise, the landlord can only raise the rent after the fixed term period has ended.
  • The only exception is if there’s a clause in your contract that sets out how and when your landlord will increase the rent, and by how much. When you sign a tenancy, you need to watch out for this.
  • Or, if you have a rolling tenancy that goes from month to month or week to week, then your landlord can only raise the rent once a year without your agreement.

How much can your landlord raise the rent by?

  • The government says any rent increases must be “fair and realistic” and landlords can raise your rent but it shouldn’t be excessive.
  • “Fair and realistic” is a bit vague, though. One person’s idea of realistic can be very different to another person’s. But you can always take a look at apartments or houses like yours – i.e. similar location and size and then compare rental prices.
  • If you think the rent rise is not fair and realistic and your landlord won’t budge or negotiate, then you can take the dispute to First-Tier Tribunal. These are independent and, after listening to both sides of the argument, will make a decision that will be binding on both you and your landlord.
  • These tribunals can also be used if you think your rent is too high at the beginning of the tenancy, instead of just when it comes up for renewal.
  • But be careful – some landlords may evict you from your property if you take them to one of these tribunals. Tenants renting via an Assured Shorthold Tenancy have fewer rights and renting security.

The councils Safer Housing team can give you help and advice if you think your landlord has unfairly raised your rents, or is trying to increase them illegally. Get in touch with us on 0115 9152020 or email safer.housing@nottinghamcity.gov.uk  

You can get more information on rent increases and rent disputes on our website.

You can also go straight to The Law Centre for help by calling 0115 978 7813 or reach them through their website.

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