Landlord and tenant – time limit for contesting rent increases

A case[1] in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has reconfirmed the strict time limit for residential tenants on statutory periodic tenancies to contest notices seeking to increase the rent.

Many landlords will have tenants on assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) who are ‘holding over’ from the fixed term on the same rent as when the tenancy was granted. 

Landlords have two ways of increasing the rent for those tenants:

  1. Agreeing with the tenants to a new fixed term AST, with higher rent.
  2. Serve notice on the tenants under section 13 of the Housing Act 1988, stating the market rent for the property.

The notice under s. 13 of the Act will need to specify the start of a period of the tenancy on which the new rent is to be payable from.  If the tenant does not think that the landlord is asking for market rent, then the tenant can ask the landlord to agree a different rent.

If the landlord does not agree a different rent, then the tenant can apply to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to have the market rent assessed.  That application must be made (and received) by the FTT before the new rent is stated in the notice to come into effect.  There is no mechanism for extending that deadline.

Therefore tenants must act quickly if they do not agree that the proposed rent increase reflects market rent.  Tenants should ensure that they do not miss the deadline even if they are trying to agree a different rent with the landlord, as they will be stuck with the rent that the landlord has asked for.

Here at Leeds Day we are award-winning solicitors in St Ives offering a tailored range of services to businesses and individuals with offices in Huntingdon, St Ives and St Neots, we have a significant presence as solicitors in Cambridgeshire advising individual and corporate clients in the region, and beyond. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

This article is not a substitute for independent legal advice, and is provided as a guide only.  If you are unsure of your legal position, you should seek specialist advice straight away.

[1] Robertson v Webb [2018] UKUT 235 (LC)

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