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UK-Justice, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 16193
Experience:  Called to the Bar in 2007
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I have lived at my rented accom for the last 5 years. In

Customer Question

I have lived at my rented accom for the last 5 years. In November2011 my landlord wanted to increase my rent from £475 to £700 per month.other tenants close by were affected by the same landlord, most of them including myself negotiated a lower rent.I agreed with my landlord to accept an increase to £575 per month and the landlord suggested a short hold tenancy for 24 months.I have since found out from another tenant that the landlord is raising the rents again by a large amount ie for mine a rise to £850 per month.. I would never be able to pay this kind of rent and when I called the renting agent they said they never expected me to be able to afford it, and were going to give me notice to leave by 19th November this year. I have found myself in an very stressful situation as I have 2 daughters 6 and 10 years old going to local schools and my elder daughter due to go to the local high school next year with her friends. It is extremely important for her to stay in the catchment area for the school as she is quite a needy child and the disruption could be quite damaging. I have through a friend been offered a house I can still afford in the same area, they are few and far between but I will have to take it quite quickly ie I need to give my landlord a months notice as soon as possible.
I contacted my landlord to explain the situation and their agent has said no they wont let me out of my agreement which runs until Nov 19th 2013., but they have allowed my brother out of his agreement, but less time was left on his tenancy ie2-3 months.
I have been advised to send them a recorded letter giving a months notice and leave anyway. I am a single mum with housing benefit help as I have a new business started. I have always paid the rent on time and never had any notices from the landlord. can you advise me please.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UK-Justice replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your question, my name is***** will do whatever I can to help you today.
Does the landlord live there too?
Please confirm its a room you are renting?
How many other people live there too?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I am a single mum with two children only the three of us living there.

The accom is a terraced house 2/3 bedrooms.

Just myself and my two daughters live there.

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 5 years ago.
But at the moment your rent is fixed at £575 is that right?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Yes, fixed at £575 per month until Nov 19th.

I would not have known about the huge rent increase intended in November but for another tenant warning me. I cannot risk finding alternative accommodation until next October/November or I could be unable to find alternative affordable accommodation.

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 5 years ago.
Does the agreement allow for an increase?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The 24 month agreement ending on the 19th November 2013 does not allow for a increase. When this' tenancy agreement' comes to a end the landlord is increasing the rent to an unaffordable amount and giving me notice to leave. He wants to refurbish and modernise the house so that he can increase and attain the higher rent.

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 5 years ago.
From the landlord zone
A landlord is required to give the tenant sufficient notice before a rent increase is to take effect.
For a monthly, weekly or fortnightly tenancy one month’s notice of the intended increase is required. For a yearly tenancy, a period of six months' notice is required before the increase can be put into effect.
The date on which the new rent is required must not be earlier than a year after the date when the rent was last increased using a section 13 notice. If a new tenancy is in place then the date should not be any earlier than a year after the date when the tenancy started.
The rent increase must begin on the same day of the month that the tenancy started, not another day of the month. For example, if the rent for the tenancy is due on the 28th of every month then the new increased rent should also be due on the 28th of the month.
If a tenant thinks that the rent charged on the property is excessively high then they can refer the rent to the Rent Assessment Committee. However, after the initial fixed term period, and once the tenant has signed a new agreement, they will no longer be able to refer the rent to the committee.
The committee will sometimes visit the property and conduct an external and internal assessment, to enable them to decide on a fixed rent, if they feel this is necessary or they have been requested to do so by one of the parties.
Referring high rents to the Rent Assessment Committee can in some cases result in the rent being increased, if other similar properties in the area have higher rental charges. Alternatively, the committee may agree that the rent is too high and issue the landlord with a market rent value for the property. If the committee feel that the rent charged is reasonable it may remain at the current rate.
Landlords are entitled to charge a full market rent. The market rent which can be charged depends on the availability and rent charged for similar properties in the area. Market rent is the highest amount of rent the landlord can legally charge for a particular property.
Once the Rent Assessment Committee receives an application to review the rent on a property, both the landlord and tenant are informed and given the option to apply in writing or ask for an oral hearing. If the Rent Assessment Committee holds a hearing, then both parties will be given sufficient notice and be able to have a barrister, solicitor or housing advisor present to represent them. During the hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to represent themselves through giving evidence, drawing on witnesses and questioning the other party. The documents used as evidence during the hearing should be issued to both the landlord and tenant.
Following a hearing by the Rent Assessment Committee, the landlord and tenant will be informed in writing of the decision and the proposed rent, along with a summary of the reasons for the decision. If the tenant or landlord would like more detailed reasons on the decision they can request this within twenty one days of receiving the summary. The full reasons for the decision will then be issued by the Rent Assessment Committee within twenty eight days of the request being made.
The landlord is only then able to increase the rent after one year of the Rent Assessment Committee making their decision.
If a tenant refers a new rent to the Rent Assessment Committee, the application must be received not later than the one day before the new rent is payable. If the committee receives the application after this date the application will not be accepted, and the new rent which the landlord has decided will be payable by the tenant.
A tenant may decide to discuss the rent increase and see if it is possible for the landlord to increase the rent gradually over a certain length of time. In some cases a landlord may prefer this to the option of finding new tenants.
Therefore your options are
A. Pay the increase
B. Take it to rent committee to determine fair rent,
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