My Landlord’s Increased the Rent. What Should IDo? – Everything’s going up in cost at the moment. From food price hikes to childcare, many of us are seeing more money going out of our banks than coming in, creating imbalance and financial stress.
One area that’s already being significantly impacted is the lettings sector.The property market, as with most industries, is feeling the effects of the recent rise in inflation, which currently stands at 9% – way ahead of the 2% that it’s meant to be.
As a result, rent is likely to go up. Landlords, like everyone else, have to deal with the cost of living crisis and this is reflected in the amount they’re charging tenants. But is this fair? Is it even legal? And how can tenants handle this change?
Is it legal?
Before we look at what to do if your landlord has sent you a revised bill, it’s important to establish if they can legally put your rent up. This will help to establish if you need to take any action against them.
As things stand, the government guidance states that if you’re an existing tenant, the rise in rent must be ‘fair and realistic’. It also needs to be ‘in line with local rents’. This can be considered arbitrary as ‘fair and realistic’ is open to interpretation. Likewise, if landlords are comparing rents locally, it might be that once one has hiked their rent up, the rest follow suit, leaving your landlord to be within their rights to join them.
Additionally, there’s no cap set out by the government for how much the rent can change. So, it’s very much a case of what your landlord considers to be a fair increase.
If you’re unhappy, you could challenge your landlord in a rent tribunal. But this can be expensive and time-consuming. Plus, landlords can simply issue a Section 21 notice, which gives them the right to initiate a no-fault eviction.
However, all is not lost. It is possible to reason with your landlord.
First, it’s helpful to know what sort of tenancy you have. If you have a rolling tenancy, where you pay weekly or monthly, they can’t increase your rent more than once in the space of a year. So, if they’re already pre-empted a lot of the recent changes in the economy by raising your rent, they can’traise it again until a year’s passed without your say-so.
If you have a fixed-term tenancy, where you’ve paid up to a certain point, for example, six months, they can only increase the amount you pay if you agree. If you don’t agree, they can only put the prices up when your fixed-term ends.
If you want to negotiate, try having a conversation first. It can be helpful to remind them what type of tenant you are, especially if you’ve taken the time to protect yourself and the property with things like tenants insurance. This reflects that you’re a conscientious tenant and remind them that it’s harder to find tenants in the current climate, especially diligent ones like yourself.
Should this not get you anywhere, you might have to go down the tribunal route. But try to talk to them first before you take this step.