Section 13 Rent Rises - What Landlords Need to Know
Section 13 is for landlords who want to put up rent for a tenant in a periodic term of their tenancy agreement.
Landlords can only issue a Section 13 rent rise if an assured shorthold or assured tenancy is in place.
Like Generation Rent and ACORN, tenant pressure groups expect landlords to issue more Section 13 notices when the government carries out a manifesto and Queen’s Speech promise to abolish Section 21 no-fault evictions.
The lobby groups argue that landlords will lose the leverage of threatening a no-fault eviction if the tenant does not agree to a rent increase, so they will resort to Section 13 to force the rise.
What is a Section 13 notice?
Section 13 refers to Section 13 of The Housing Act 1988
Landlords must serve a correctly completed form on tenants renting with an assured shorthold tenancy or an assured tenancy.
Besides asking for the tenant and landlord names, addresses and contact details, the form details the proposed new rent to replace the current rent.
Landlords must also confirm the increase date after February 11, 2003, when the housing minister of the time launched regulations updating Section 13.
The start date of the new rent is also needed.
If the landlord is paying council tax for water or service charges, these costs are displayed on the form, too.
The landlord signs the notice or an agent on their behalf.
If the tenant does not accept the increase and refuses to discuss the rise with the landlord, they should take legal advice or seek guidance from a consumer service. The tenant must take the case to a rent tribunal to contest the rent.
Other ways to increase rent
Resorting to a Section 13 notice is not the only way landlords can increase rents.
Some assured tenancy agreements have a rent review clause, even if the tenancy is fixed-term.
For example, if a tenant has a 24-month fixed-term agreement, the clause can set a £750 a month payment for the first 12 months and rent of £800 for the second 12 months.
Alternatively, landlords and tenants on good terms can agree to a rent rise by drafting a written document that both sides sign and date. The agreement should clearly state the address of the property, the new rent, and the date the arrangement starts. Both sides should keep a signed copy of the agreement.
Where can I download a Section 13 template?
Subscribers can download a free section 13 notice completed on-screen with helpful guidance for each entry.
When can landlords serve a Section 13 notice?
The minimum notice a landlord can give depends on the frequency rent is paid.
- Tenants paying weekly, fortnightly, or monthly get a month’s notice
- Tenants paying between monthly and six-monthly get notice the same length as the payment frequency; for instance, if rent is paid quarterly, the tenant receives three month’s notice
- Tenants paying yearly get six month’s notice
The rules covering the service of the form are strict.
If there is no written tenancy agreement, there’s no fixed term. This means the notice can’t be served for a year after the contract started.
Landlords cannot serve the notice during a fixed term; after the fixed period ends, they can do the notice once in 12 months.
How is a start date set for the new rent?
The new rent takes over from the current rent on the first day of a rental period.
A tenant paying rent on the first day of each month will pay the increased amount on the first of the month from the date set in the notice.
Common Section 13 form completion errors
The form comes with guidance notes, but some landlords still make mistakes in completing or serving the document.
- Use the official form on our website - it’s free to subscribers and the most up-to-date version.
- Check your dates - the notice is invalid if another Section 13 notice was already served during the past 52 weeks.
- Make sure the rent increase is paid from the correct start date
- Ensure the notice is served correctly and complies with the proper notice period
- Spell names and addresses correctly and sign and date the form
Serving a Section 13 notice
Serve the notice by post or hand.
- If you are serving by post, allow a little extra (minimum four days) for delivery.
- If you are serving by hand, note the time, date and name of the person taking the form. Photograph the notice being posted through the door if you can.
How does a tenant accept a Section 13 rent increase?
The tenant accepts the new rent if they:
- Pay the new amount from the start date,
- Fail to lodge a case with the rent tribunal.
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View Related Handbook Page
There are three ways to review the rent in an assured shorthold tenancy: by way of a rent review clause in the tenancy agreement or by agreement with the tenant or by notice under section 13 of the Housing Act 1988.