PDA

View Full Version : Rent increase following Form 4B Section 13(2)



papillon
11-10-2011, 16:31 PM
I've been in my current property since Feb 2010, and in January 2011 my landlord notified me of an increase in rent from £665 to £680 from February 2011.

As the letter advising me of the increase stated that the rent would not increase again for at least 6 months, and I thought that was a bit soon, I made him increase the rent via the Form 4B Section 13(2) method.

Today, I've received another letter saying rental prices have increased over the last twelve months, and the rent is to increase by another £15/month as of November 2011, only 9 months on. Can he do that given he signed the form? Also, I'm curious - have rent prices really gone up enough in the last 12 (or 9!) months to justify an increase?

Paul_f
11-10-2011, 18:25 PM
As you have a periodic tenancy then Form 4B (under S.13) can only be served to be effective after 53 weeks from the last increase so for the time being you can ignore it. You can of course appeal through the normal channels after a valid S.13 Notice has been served upon you, but a S.21 Notice might follow if you do. Consider the market rent for your property and then make an informed decision. Tell your landlord that he can't increase the rent until at least February 2012. He can of course serve a S.21 now to be effective in two months time at the end of the rental period thereafter.

Snorkerz
11-10-2011, 21:30 PM
I agree fully with Paul_f but would just add (to answer your question) that rents have increased dramatically for most areas in the last 12 months.

papillon
13-10-2011, 09:17 AM
Got a call from the landlord this morning. He told me that as Section 16 of the Form 4B refers to an exception, which my tenancy (periodic) falls under, he's entitled to increase the rent at any time. I don't know if that's the case, or not... however, he did say that if I didn't pay the extra rent until February, whatever the legal status of the Form 4B, he would be well within his rights to immediately serve notice via s.21, and that he could then advertise the flat at £725 and still get it snapped up. Sigh.

I like the flat. I honestly don't want to go through the hassle of having to move. But I do object to the chance of the rent going up again in only six months. In the end, we reached something of a compromise - he'd re-issue the letter, still with £695 per month on it as of November, but with an assurance that the rent would not increase for at least nine months, rather than six. It's better than being served notice...

jjlandlord
13-10-2011, 09:52 AM
My understanding is that the exception only applies for the first proposed rent increased after the expiry of the fixed term.
In your case the rent has already been increased through a section 13 notice, so the minimum period between increases does apply.

As you have a statutory periodic tenancy your landlord can indeed serve you a section 21 notice to evict you at any time.
But taking into account the costs and notice periods, it'd be way simpler for your landlord to just increase the rent as he should, ie. after 12 months instead of 9.

papillon
13-10-2011, 10:01 AM
Unfortunately, from what I understand in reading through it, the Form 4B doesn't explicitly state that, so I don't think I can really argue that one, especially with the threat of section 21 notice hanging over my head. (Although, fair play to them, the discussion was reasonable and level in tone, with no explicit threats.)

As to the second point - simpler, yes, most certainly. But it seems they'd rather risk the costs and notice periods than receive £45 less rent from me between now and February!

jjlandlord
13-10-2011, 10:07 AM
Unfortunately, from what I understand in reading through it, the Form 4B doesn't explicitly state that, so I don't think I can really argue that one

You can and should argue because the notes of the form are not the Law, there are an explanation of it.
The Law is section 13 of the housing act 1988 itself.

What will you do when they increase your rent again in 6 months?


But it seems they'd rather risk the costs and notice periods than receive £45 less rent from me between now and February!

Well, that's what they want you to believe at least. The threat of "agree or I serve a section 21 notice" is the oldest trick in the book.

papillon
13-10-2011, 10:26 AM
What will you do when they increase your rent again in 6 months?
Nine months now - and find somewhere else! Unfortunately, moving house costs money I don't have, so for the time being, the threat of being served notice is a risk I don't want to take.

jjlandlord
13-10-2011, 10:38 AM
Nine months now.

Unless in 6 months he'll ask you to "agree or be served a section 21 notice" of course.

papillon
13-10-2011, 10:45 AM
He can do that? The increase letter we agreed and that he's re-issuing will say 'can assure you the rent will not be increased again for at least 9 months'.

Paul_f
13-10-2011, 16:13 PM
Look. Let your landlord serve a S.21 Notice and then when it expires you can agree a new rent. You don't even have to move out even when it expires so the ball is in your court.

papillon
13-10-2011, 23:10 PM
Look. Let your landlord serve a S.21 Notice and then when it expires you can agree a new rent. You don't even have to move out even when it expires so the ball is in your court.
I've agreed with the landlord now that I'll pay the increased rent on the condition in the letter that it doesn't get raised again for at least nine months. We'll see if he sticks to that or not, and if he doesn't, I guess I'll be moving out.

Re your suggestion, my understanding was that once a S.21 is served, the tenant must vacate in 2 months. I don't get where you're coming from when you say I wouldn't have to move out - isn't that when court procedures can begin? - and even if that's the case, given the rental market at the moment, I doubt a landlord would care to keep on a troublesome tenant!

jjlandlord
14-10-2011, 07:38 AM
I've agreed with the landlord now that I'll pay the increased rent on the condition in the letter that it doesn't get raised again for at least nine months.

Last time he increased the rent through a s.13 notice, meaning that by Law he could not increase it again within 12 months. But you saw what happened...


I don't get where you're coming from when you say I wouldn't have to move out - isn't that when court procedures can begin?

Indeed. The key word is 'can': The tenancy does not end when the notice expires, but at that point the landlord can decide to start court proceedings.

Snorkerz
14-10-2011, 07:45 AM
Re your suggestion, my understanding was that once a S.21 is served, the tenant must vacate in 2 months. I don't get where you're coming from when you say I wouldn't have to move out - isn't that when court procedures can begin? - and even if that's the case, given the rental market at the moment, I doubt a landlord would care to keep on a troublesome tenant!You are right in your understanding about what can happen at the end of an s21. However, you have no obligation to leave the property until a court order is obtaines and enforced by bailiffs. This is not a CCJ, it doesn't stay with you, it s just you insisting on things being done as the law specifies.

The section 21 is merely the first stage of the process. The court process that follows could easily be a further 6/8 weeks -IF THE LANDLORD DECIDES TO EVICT - there is no saying he will.

Evicting/changing tenants is an expensive process, a landlord would be extremely lucky if the whole process cost less than £1k. What would I do? Well if you were otherwise a good tenant, I'd certainly be willing to negotiate or postpone the raise until the correct time (loss 4 months x £15) rather than suffer the much larger eviction/relet costs and run the risk of the new tenant being a true tenant from hell.

papillon
14-10-2011, 11:45 AM
Thanks for the clarity, everyone - appreciate your patience explaining things to a cowardly legal noob ;)

I am a good tenant, so if I haven't decided to move out by the time the next rent increase letter rolls round, I'll see what happens when I refuse to pay it!