letting agents sudden increase of rent

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  • letting agents sudden increase of rent

    I am a pensioner and have been living in a private rented property initially in the first instance for a year I receive HB etc and pay £13 to meet the rent. Landlord then changed lease to a month to month a year ago stating that if I wanted to back to a 12 month lease I would have to pay them £100 or more. I have been the most perfect tenant as I love my flat, now I have had a letter from letting agents stating that landlord has the right to put up my rent and is effective immeidately which means as i've worked it out I will now have to find £35 each month to meet my rent. I am not a scrooge but will find this difficult as well as pay all other bills. I suppose what I am asking is this entirely legal or start looking for a bedsit somwhere ?.

  • #2
    Firstly consult your tenancy agreement (I'm assuming you have an AST) to see if there is anything in there to say how any rent increases might be implemented. If there is then this should be followed.

    If there's nothing in the tenancy agreement then your landlord (or agent) must serve on you a S.13 Notice on Form 4b to notify you of a proposed increase. You will have 28 days in which to reply and dispute the amount which will then be referred to a Rent Tribunal. If you have just received a letter you can ignore it.

    The unfortunate thing about proposed rent increases is that if you dispute it and your landlord thinks they can obtain a higher rent then they might serve a S.21 Notice on you seeking possession, but as you claim benefits they would have to take you to court and this will take some weeks if not months.
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


    • #3
      Unless there is a specific clause in your tenancy agreement showing how and when future rent increases will be calculated, then the following applies:

      During the fixed term of the contract
      If a fixed rent is shown on your tenancy agrement, then it can not be increased during the fixed term without your consent.

      After the fixed term of the contract
      New Contract
      Your landlord may offer you a new contract at a higher rate of rent. You do not have to accept the contract, but if you decline then the landlord may choose to evict you under section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act. This can give you the security of a fixed rent for the duration of the new contract.
      Section 13 Notice
      Your landlord may serve you with a section 13 notice. This will give you at least one months notice of a rent increase, and must be on a specific form that tells you your options if you do not agree with the increase. Essentially, you have the option of asking a Rent Assesment Committee to decide a fair rent. A section 13 notice can not be used more frequently than every 52 weeks.
      Mutual Agreement
      Not a real process, but if you are told of an increase and pay it, it is assumed that you have accepted the increase, and can not subsequently reject the rent because you were not given a new contract or a valid section 13 notice.


      • #4
        Thanks all, As I am only on a month to month contract is it correct that if i do not pay the increase they will want me out, it does not appear to me I have a strong corner than if I was in a long contract.


        • #5
          No it is not certain that they will want you out - they may prefer to have a reliable tenant who pays when they should, than a potential unknown paying slightly more rent.

          Find out what similar properties are going for in your area, then negotiate. Remember, if you leave the landlord will have a number of costs to deal with - which might easily outweigh the rent increase. By way of example - I am currently leting a vacant property and will have to pay £350 to the agent to find me a tenant. Add (say) a months lost rent whilst a new tenant was found, the cost of correcting anything requoted to bring the property up to a lettable standard and the costs soon escalate - lets say £1000. So, your landlord has the choice - £1000 to change to an unknown tenant who may only stay 6 months before he has to pay a similar amount again - or accept a smaller increase from yourself - say an extra £11 a month instead of the £22 they propose (cost £131 a year).



          • #6
            Originally posted by Elzabeth View Post
            Thanks all, As I am only on a month to month contract is it correct that if i do not pay the increase they will want me out, it does not appear to me I have a strong corner than if I was in a long contract.
            If you have a periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancy in England/Wales, then the LL can evict you fairly easily via the standard 'no fault' s.21 procedure. He must serve a s.21 notice giving you at least two months, and then, if you don't serve notice to quit and vacate, he can apply to the court for possession after his s.21 notice expires.

            If you had a fixed term contract the LL couldn't evict you via s.21 procedure before the end of the fixed term.

            If LL has served a s.13 notice and you don't challenge it, then the rent will increase and you'll be liable for it.


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