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jango
14-03-2006, 01:38 AM
Hello, newbie here :)

Last Friday my landlady turned up to collect the rent and told me the rent was going to be increased from 1st April. I thought she had to give me two months notice if she was going to increase the rent.

I've lived here 5 years and in all that time she has never put the rent up before. It is currently £350 pcm and she has put it up to £475 pcm. She says she has put it up so much because it hasn't been increased for 5 years.

I am now expected to find another £125 for 1st April. Surely this isn't right?

I'd be grateful for any advice because I am worried sick. TIA

Ericthelobster
14-03-2006, 08:34 AM
Assuming you have a normal periodic tenancy agreement, then 1 month's notice is correct I'm afraid. However, she needs to provide you with written notice as a legal form (tell her it's called Section 13(2) Notice of the Housing Act 1988), which sets out her and your obligations and furthermore, explains how you can refer the matter to the rent tribunal, and get a fair rent assessed, if you disagree with it.

I think the key point for you to consider is whether you think the new rent is actually realistic or not, in comparison with other similar properties for rent in your area. If it is, then it may seem unfair that she wants to wack the rent up so much, and it's certainly lousy landlording, but there's no reason why she can't. It represents an increase of about, what, 7-8% per year for the time you've been there, which is certainly more than inflation, but maybe it reflects local rents? Consider how would you be feeling now if she had been increasing the rent regularly for all this time - would you still be feeling hard done by? (Maybe you would, justifiably - I don't know).

Finally, you ought to remember that (again, assuming you're on a standard periodic AST agreement) your landlady can give you 2 months' notice to quit without any reason at all.

caroline7758
14-03-2006, 08:44 AM
Is there anything in your tenancy agreement about increasing the rent? If not, you have to agree to the increase. She only has to give one month's notice.
Full explanation here:

http://www.odpm.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1151927#P224_38867

(This is assuming you have an assured shorthold tenancy)

But beware that if you go to a rent review, the rent could go up even more, and that if you fall out with your landlady over this, she may try to evict you.
Go to your local CAB or housing advice centre for help.

Worldlife
14-03-2006, 08:47 AM
It would be worthwhile for you to readShelter Guide to Rent Increases (http://england.shelter.org.uk/advice/advice-345.cfm)

You should also know:-


When a fixed term tenancy ends and the tenancy lapses into a statutory periodic tenancy, the landlord can put the rent up if you agree. Alternatively he or she can use the formal procedure in the Housing Act 1988 to propose a rent increase to be payable as soon as the statutory tenancy starts. The landlord can then propose further increases at yearly intervals after the first increase.

7.4 What is the formal procedure for proposing a rent increase for contractual or statutory periodic tenancies where this is not covered in the tenancy agreement?

The landlord must propose the rent increase on one of two special forms called "Landlord's notice proposing a new rent under an Assured Periodic Tenancy of premises situated in England" or "Landlord's notice proposing a new rent under an Assured Periodic Tenancy of premises situated in Wales". The forms can be used for assured or assured shorthold tenancies.

He or she must give at least a month's notice of the proposed increase if the rent is paid on a weekly or monthly basis (more if the rent period is longer). More details are in Appendix E.

7.5 What should I do if I get formal notice of a rent increase?

If you accept the rent increase, you should simply pay it from the date given in the notice.

If you do not agree with the increase, you must apply to a rent assessment committee to decide what the rent should be. You must apply on a special form called "Application referring a Notice proposing a new rent under an Assured Periodic Tenancy or Agricultural Occupancy to a Rent Assessment Committee", available from law stationers or rent assessment panels (see Appendix D). (This form must also be used if the tenancy is a shorthold tenancy). The committee must receive the application before the date on which the new rent would be due.

7.6 What is a rent assessment committee?

Rent assessment committees are made up of 2 or 3 people - usually a lawyer, a property valuer and a lay person. They are drawn from rent assessment panels - bodies of people with appropriate expertise appointed by Government Ministers. There are 6 rent assessment panels in England and Wales. Their addresses are given in Appendix D. The committees are independent of both central and local government. There is no appeal against a committee's decision except on a point of law.

The committee may make a decision by considering the relevant papers although you or the landlord can ask for an informal hearing, which you may both attend. There is no charge for a committee decision.

7.7 When can I apply to a rent assessment committee for a decision on the rent?

If you are an assured or a shorthold tenant, you can ask a committee to set a rent under a contractual periodic or statutory periodic tenancy if you have been given notice by the landlord of a rent increase (see section 7.4).

If you are a shorthold tenant, you can ask a committee to set a rent at the beginning of a shorthold tenancy if you consider the rent to be significantly higher than rents for comparable tenancies (see section 7.10).

7.8 How does the rent assessment committee decide on a rent for a contractual periodic or statutory periodic tenancy?

When settling disputes on rent, the committee decides what rent the landlord could reasonably expect for the property if he or she was letting it on the open market under a new tenancy on the same terms. It does not take into account any increase in the value of the property due to voluntary improvements by you. The committee may agree the proposed rent or set a higher or lower rent.

The rent fixed by the committee is the legal maximum the landlord can charge. The new rent will be payable from the date specified in the landlord's notice unless the committee considers this would cause you undue hardship in which case it may specify a later date.

7.9 Can the landlord propose a further rent increase after the committee has made a decision?

The landlord can propose that the rent is increased a year after the date on which the rent decided by the committee was payable (but see Appendix E), unless you agree that he or she can put it up earlier. You must apply to a rent assessment committee to decide what the rent should be if you do not agree with the proposed increase.

Are there any clauses in your tenancy agreement relating to rent increases?

Do you consider the rent that the landlord is now asking would be the market rent for a similar property in your area? If not you can state the proposed rent increase will bring the rent above the market value.

You have legal options to challenge this substantial increase but if you want to stay at the property the situation may be open to negotiation.

A possibility is to write to the landlord objecting to the substantial proposed increase and the effective date of that increase. State that the amount is too much for you to afford immediately but offer to pay what you may feel is an increase you can afford (and that is reasonable) for the next six months and your willingness in the longer term to pay the market rent for the property.

Maybe ask your landlord to confirm these alternative staged arrangements so as to ensure your continued tenancy and goodwill.

A rent increase without your agreement and without formal notice is invalid.

Has the Landlord issued you with a notice requiring possession? You can stay put at the property for the duration of the possession procedures that will take several months.

If I had enjoyed the benefit over several years of a good landlord who had charged under the market value for rent I would do my best to negotiate - even if the landlord has made an error in trying to effect an increase without your agreement and without proper notice.

jango
15-03-2006, 06:37 AM
Thanks for all your help everyone!

It's not what I wanted to hear though.

I've read through all the links you have provided for me (thanks again) and I've checked through my tenancy agreement and I'm going to have to cough up.

It's such a huge increase so unexpectedly and I really can't afford it.

£475pcm is way over the odds for this area and it isn't worth it. The house is poorly maintained and she's a rotten landlady. I'm going to move out.

Thanks again for all your help, much appreciated :)