Legal Q&A:can I fight my new landlord’s rent rise?

I have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy contract which does not have a clause on rent increases. Can I prevent my new landlord increasing my rent?

Question: My new landlord wants to put up my rent. I have a “statutory periodic tenancy under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy contract”. There is no clause in my tenancy agreement on the subject of rent increases. But can he just turn up and increase my rent. Do I have any defence?

Answer: An Assured Shorthold Tenancy, or AST, can be for a fixed term or it can be a “periodic tenancy” — ie, running from one period to another, usually on a monthly basis.

If you are within the contractual term of the AST the landlord cannot increase your rent unless the AST contains a provision allowing the landlord to do so, or you agree to an increase in rent.

If you are outside the initial fixed term of the tenancy, and there are no subsequent written agreements, your landlord can increase the rent.

To do so, the landlord must serve a notice on you confirming their intention, and what the new rent will be.

In practice this is often done by agreement, or the parties enter into a new AST. The increase of rent is governed by statute.

If you do not accept the proposed new rent, after the notice is served you can refer the matter to the First–tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) which can decide what the maximum rent for your home should be.  

WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE.

We regret that questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here. Fiona McNulty is a legal director in the private wealth group of Foot Anstey


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