There are three ways for a landlord to increase the rent payable on an assured shorthold tenancy after its fixed term has ended and turned into a periodic tenancy:
- By agreement with the tenant which is usually done by issuing a new fixed-term tenancy agreement, including the new rent amount. If this is not done, there should at least be some written record of the tenant’s agreement to the new amount such as a letter signed and dated by them. If the tenant has agreed to the new rent, they will not be able to subsequently challenge it.
- By notice of increase under s13 of the Housing Act 1988. Landlords can serve this once a year providing it is done in the prescribed form of a s13 Notice. Such notices can only come into force during a periodic tenancy which comes into effect once a fixed term has expired.
- Following a periodic rent review clause in the tenancy agreement. The tenant will normally be deemed to have agreed to this by signing the agreement, so again will be unable to challenge it.
With regard to point 2, over the past few years agreements with rent review clauses have usually reviewed the rent in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI). Ths has now downgraded to no longer be a national statistic although the ONS has confirmed that they will continue to produce RPI figures for the time being. Subsequently for agreements which refer to this as the measure to be used for calculating any rent review, there is no cause for concern because the RPI continues to be produced and ascertainable so the clause can still be operated.
Tenants can usually appeal on receiving a letter from the landlord about a rent increase. There are deadlines for making an appeal, depending on the type of tenancy.
- An assured or assured shorthold tenancy means the deadline is before the new rent is due to start. The appeals form can be found by following the link here.
- A regulated tenancy means the deadline is within 28 days of the rent being decided by the rent officer. If wishing to appeal, tenants will be required to write to the Valuation Office Agency at Wycliffe House, Green Lane, Durham DH1 3UW who will look at the case and forward it to the rent assessment panel in the area.