The rental market in the UK is currently facing a crisis, with nearly four in ten renters under the age of 30 paying over 30% of their income on rent. The demand for rental properties is on the rise, and as a result, asking rents have surged by 12% outside London, marking the fastest growth in 16 years. In such a climate, young renters are particularly vulnerable, and some are turning to house-sharing as a solution. If you’re a renter, it’s essential to understand your rights and options when it comes to potential rent increases.
Understanding Your Tenancy Agreement: If you privately rent in England and Wales, you likely have an assured shorthold tenancy, which typically has a fixed-term period before transitioning into a periodic (month-to-month) tenancy. During the fixed-term, a landlord may propose a rent increase by asking you to sign a new tenancy agreement at a higher rate. However, you have the right to decline and continue with the existing agreement.
Rent Review Clause and Seeking Permission: Some tenancy agreements may include a rent review clause, specifying the conditions for a rent increase. In any case, your landlord must seek your permission to implement a rent hike. If you do not agree, the rent remains unchanged.
Periodic Tenancy and Rent Increase Methods: At the end of the fixed term, if no new agreement is signed, the tenancy becomes periodic, and rent can be increased through a rent review clause, your agreement to a proposed increase, or the landlord serving a Section 13 notice. The latter can only occur once a year, requiring at least one month’s notice and the correct form.
The Scottish System: In Scotland, the Private Residential Tenancy agreement, implemented in 2017, brought changes to protect tenants from frequent rent increases. Rent can be increased once every 12 months, with landlords providing the correct form and three months’ notice. A rent officer can review an increase’s fairness based on local market rents.
Negotiating with Landlords: Tenants facing a rent increase can negotiate with their landlords. Understanding the local market rates and having an open conversation about financial constraints might lead to a mutually agreeable solution. However, tenants should be aware that landlords in England and Wales can issue a Section 21 “no-fault” notice, providing a two-month eviction notice.
Navigating rent increases requires clearly understanding your tenancy agreement, rights, and potential negotiation strategies. As the rental market continues to evolve, staying informed about your legal standing is crucial for a secure and stable tenancy.