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I came across the following page from the UK government's website:

https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/rent-increases

It states:

For a periodic tenancy (rolling on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis) your landlord can’t normally increase the rent more than once a year without your agreement.

For a fixed-term tenancy (running for a set period) your landlord can only increase the rent if you agree. If you don’t agree, the rent can only be increased when the fixed term ends.

I've tried in vain to find the law behind this, but I can't seem to figure it out. The page makes no references to actual law. Why can a landlord "not normally increase the rent more than once a year"? What would be illegal about writing an AST agreement that allowed the landlord to increase the rent every month after the fixed term period?

Also, it says that the landlord can increase the rent "when the fixed term ends". Does this also apply to an AST agreement where, when the fixed term ends, the agreement switches over to a month-by-month rolling basis? For example, say that the tenant signs an agreement with the landlord for a 6 month AST. At the end of the 6 months, the tenant continues to live at the property - can the landlord now increase the rent, as the fixed term is over? Thereafter, how often can they increase the rent? If it's once every 12 months, is it 12 months from the beginning of the agreement or 12 months from that first rent increase after 6 months?

Again, a pointer to the law on this would be helpful.

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What would be illegal about writing an AST agreement that allowed the landlord to increase the rent every month after the fixed term period?

The law regulates contracts, and in this case it states that such clauses aren't allowed. That doesn't make it illegal to write the agreement, per se, but the clause would be unenforceable: the landlord could try to increase the rent, you could refuse to pay, and the landlord wouldn't have any recourse in law. The landlord could give you notice instead, but that's something he or she could do anyway.

The overall legislation applying to this is the Housing Act 1988. I think section 13 about rent increases applies to assured shorthold tenancies, but I'm not 100% certain - and in any case I can't figure out from that whether rent can be increased immediately when rolling over from a fixed term to a periodic tenancy. I'm not sure if it counts as a "statutory periodic tenancy" or just a "periodic tenancy" under that section.

If section 13 is the right section, then it is fairly clear that after one rent increase, there can't be another one for another year - see 13(2)(c)(ii) and 13(3A):

(2) For the purpose of securing an increase in the rent under a tenancy to which this section applies, the landlord may serve on the tenant a notice in the prescribed form proposing a new rent to take effect at the beginning of a new period of the tenancy specified in the notice, being a period beginning not earlier than—

[...]

(b) except in the case of a statutory periodic tenancy—

(i) in the case of an assured agricultural occupancy, the first anniversary of the date on which the first period of the tenancy began;

(ii) in any other case, on the date that falls 52 weeks after the date on which the first period of the tenancy began; and

(c) if the rent under the tenancy has previously been increased by virtue of a notice under this subsection or a determination under section 14 below—

(i) in the case of an assured agricultural occupancy, the first anniversary of the date on which the increased rent took effect;

(ii) in any other case, the appropriate date

(3A) The appropriate date referred to in subsection (2)(c)(ii) above is—

(a) in a case to which subsection (3B) below applies, the date that falls 53 weeks after the date on which the increased rent took effect;

(b) in any other case, the date that falls 52 weeks after the date on which the increased rent took effect.

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Summary: section 13 only applies if the tenancy agreement doesn't state what happens once the fixed term ends, and limits rent increases to once a year, starting with the last increase under section 13.


To add to Ganesh's excellent answer: section 13 does indeed only apply to statutory periodic tenancies which are also assured tenancies (which includes ASTs), and for which no provision about rent rises is included in the agreement.

It limits rent rises under these circumstances to once a year, and requires the landlord to use the prescribed form - specifically, Tenancy Form 4.

The OP also asks:

Also, it says that the landlord can increase the rent "when the fixed term ends". Does this also apply to an AST agreement where, when the fixed term ends, the agreement switches over to a month-by-month rolling basis?

Yes, but only if the tenancy agreement doesn't say otherwise. If the agreement doesn't cover this, then the rent can be increased for the first time at any point once the fixed term ends. Once the rent has been increased in this way, it can only be increased again at least a year later (sections 13(2)(c)(ii) and 13(3A)(b)).


However, if the tenancy agreement makes provision for rent increases during the periodic part of the tenancy, then section 13(1)(b) states that the above requirement doesn't apply:

[This section applies to...] any other periodic tenancy which is an assured tenancy, other than one in relation to which there is a provision, for the time being binding on the tenant, under which the rent for a particular period of the tenancy will or may be greater than the rent for an earlier period.

Note that this doesn't address rent increases during the fixed term, which are also allowed, so long as it's included in the tenancy agreement. (See, for example, this discussion).

Regarding the quote in the question, "For a fixed-term tenancy (running for a set period) your landlord can only increase the rent if you agree" means that it must be in the tenancy agreement or in a supplemental agreement. If you sign it, then you are showing your agreement to the terms.

This is in contrast to the procedure described in section 13, which is the only time a rent increase can be imposed on the tenant - and even then, the tenant can appeal to a rent assessment tribunal if they think it's unfair.

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