My landlord wants to increase my rent, what are my options?

Q: My tenancy is up for renewal and my landlord wants to increase the rent, can she do this?

A: If your tenancy is coming to an end then you have two options. You can either continue it and it will roll into what’s called a Periodic Tenancy. In very simple terms, this means that your existing tenancy terms and rental amount will remain the same and you as the tenant can serve one month’s notice to end the agreement and your landlord can serve two. There are restrictions but this is broadly the case.

However, if your landlord or the landlord’s managing agent does acknowledge the end of your tenancy, which most will, you then need to discuss whether you want to enter a new agreement and on what terms.

Assuming you’ve been a good tenant and looked after the property, your landlord will most likely want to keep you. Tenant turnover is expensive for a landlord as they need to pay new letting agent fees, check-in fees and so on, plus they face the risk of a void period. So encouraging you to stay will be a priority for them.

My advice would therefore be to ask to enter another tenancy term at the same rent, or even slightly less. Whilst there are some press reports stating that rents are rising, I’m not seeing much evidence of this on the ground; most properties are renting out for the same level as the previous year or in some cases, a couple of percent below what they were receiving. This means that your request to hold the rent at the same level is in line with current market conditions, and any realistic landlord should recognise this.

It’s also worth noting that some tenancies will be for a two year period with a rent increase built into the second year – the rent increase is usually linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) and will often be a minimum of two or three percent. In this instance, if you have a break clause within the agreement, you can renegotiate with your landlord and say that you would like to stay, but you don’t want to increase the rent as per the agreement. If the landlord insists on the agreed rent increase, you can then decide whether to comply, or serve notice to leave and find an alternative property to rent.

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email or tweet her @joeccles.