Information for tenants

5. Dealing with rent increases

It's a good idea to try and negotiate if your landlord wants to increase your rent.

For example, you could tell your landlord:

  • the increase they're asking for is above market rent
  • you could agree to a lower rent increase if it's affordable
  • about your financial situation, especially if you cannot get more local housing allowance

You can use a budget tool to work out what you can afford. There is a budget tool on the National Debtline website.

Negotiation is usually the only way to challenge a rent increase if your landlord has used a rent review clause.

Rent review clauses

Check your most recent tenancy agreement for a rent review clause. This is a term in your agreement that says how the rent can be increased. Not all tenancy agreements have them.

The clause might be quite general and say something like "the landlord will review the rent in April each year and give the tenant 1 month notice of any increase".

Or, it could be more specific and say something like 'the rent will increase each April in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI)".

Agreeing to a rent increase

Your rent does not change if your landlord just tells you it's increasing.

You can only agree to a rent increase by:

  • paying the increase
  • signing a new agreement at a higher rent
  • accepting the increase, for example, by email or text

Challenging a rent increase

If you and your landlord cannot agree, you could ask a tribunal to decide. A tribunal can set a new rent for your tenancy.

There's a risk that a tribunal could set a higher rent than your landlord is asking for. You should check if the new rent your landlord is asking for is in line with similar rented properties in your area before going to a tribunal.

Remember, your landlord might take steps to evict you if you apply to a tribunal.

When to apply

You can apply to a tribunal if your landlord gives you a section 13 notice. Check the section 13 notice for the date when the new rent starts. You must apply before this date.

How to apply

Visit GOV.UK to download and complete Form Rents 1.

You’ll then need to send this form to the tribunal for your region with a copy of the section 13 notice.

You can find the address of your tribunal regional office at the end of the form.

How the tribunal decides

The tribunal decides based on the documents they get from you and your landlord. There will only be a hearing if you or your landlord asks for one.

Setting a market rent

The tribunal can decide a new market rent. They do this by looking at similar properties in the area.

The new rent could be the same, lower or higher than what the landlord asked for.

When you have to pay the new rent

The new rent will normally apply from the date in the section 13 notice. This may mean you owe the landlord money. You should tell the tribunal if this will cause you financial problems. They may say the new rent will apply from the date of their decision instead.

Further information and support

You can find out more about rent increases for private tenants on the Shelter England website.

You can also find more information on our discretionary payments for rent webpage.