Rent Increases - Our Reply

Extract from a reply given to an email enquiry:

You're worried about your rent being increased. I can appreciate how stressful this is.

Housing law can be very complex and our advice is based on the information you give us. I can give you some general advice but you may need to seek further help from an advice service near you. Later on I'll give you details of where to look for more advice.

If you rent your home from the National Trust it's likely you're a private tenant. If you've rented privately since 1974 it's likely you would be a regulated (otherwise known as protected) tenant.

You can read more about the rights of regulated (or protected tenants) here

The following advice is based on this. If you think you have a different type of tenancy, you will need to get further advice.

As we only give initial advice I'm afraid I cannot comment on the policies of individual charities in terms of setting rent for their residents.

However, I can give you guidance on how the maximum rent is determined for regulated tenants.

Where an application for a fair rent has been made after 1 February 1999 and the rent has been previously registered as a fair rent under the Rent Act 1977, then any increase will be subject to a maximum limit.

If the rent officer decides a fair rent is more than the maximum fair rent limit, the maximum fair rent becomes the registered rent. However, if the fair rent determined is less than the maximum fair rent limit, then that fair rent will be the new registered rent. The limit does not apply where:

  • the rent has not previously been registered or
  • if, as a result of repairs or improvements carried out by the landlord to the dwelling-house or the common parts, the fair rent determined is at least 15 per cent more than the existing registered rent. Repairs or improvements include the replacement of any fixture or fitting. Common parts includes the structure and exterior of the building and common facilities provided for the occupiers of the dwelling-houses in the building.

The maximum fair rent limit is calculated on the basis of the change in the retail price index (RPI) - (the monthly UK index of retail prices (all items) published by the Office for National Statistics) since the last registration, plus 7.5 per cent for first re registrations after 1 February 1999 or 5 per cent for subsequent re registrations.

The formula is complex and in brief is the existing registered rent multiplied by an fraction plus the percentage mentioned above of 7.5 per cent or 5 per cent. The retail price index fraction is the retail price index in the month before the month in which the rent officer determines the fair rent minus the published retail price index for the month in which the fair rent was previously registered divided by the published retail price index for the month in which the fair rent was previously registered. The maximum fair rent is then rounded up to the nearest 50 pence.

You also ask whether housing associations and councils are able to freeze rent increases due to the current economic climate. I'm afraid we are not aware of any current freeze on rent increases. You can read about the different ways council and private tenancy rents can be increased here.

As we only provide initial advice, I'm afraid I cannot say whether it's in your best interests to challenge the rent increase. However, I would recommend that you get further advice to weigh up your options.

If you would like further advice about this you can use the Advice Services Directory to try and find a local service such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, law centre or Shelter office here.

I hope this information is useful to you.