A Section 13 notice is a formal notice served by a landlord to propose an increase in the rent for a property that is subject to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). It allows the landlord to adjust the rent to reflect changes in market conditions or to cover increased costs related to the property.
The Landlord’s Right to Increase Rent
Landlords have the right to increase the rent during an AST, but there are specific rules and procedures they must follow. This is where Section 13 notices come into play. Landlords can only increase the rent by serving Section 13 notices.
Section 13 of the Housing Act 1988 outlines the procedure for landlords to increase the rent in an AST. It is important to note that this provision applies to both periodic and fixed-term tenancies.
While rent increases may not always be welcomed by tenants, they are essential for landlords to keep pace with rising costs and market conditions. Regular rent reviews and increases can help ensure that landlords can maintain and improve their properties, providing a better living environment for tenants.
What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?
An AST is the most common type of tenancy agreement in the UK. It typically involves a fixed term tenancy, often for 6 to 12 months, during which the tenant has exclusive possession of the property. ASTs are governed by the Housing Act 1988.
Some tenancy agreements may include a rent review clause, specifying how and when rent increases will be determined. If such a clause is present, the landlord must follow the procedure outlined in the agreement. However, if there is no rent review clause, Section 13 of the Housing Act 1988 provides the framework for rent increases.
The Notice Period
One of the key aspects of Section 13 notices is the notice period. The notice period must be at least one month notice, and it must expire after the end of a rental period. For example, if the rent is paid on a monthly basis, the notice period should expire at the end of a month. If the rent is paid weekly, it should expire at the end of a week. This ensures that tenants have sufficient time to consider the proposed rent increase and make necessary arrangements.
Timing is Crucial
Landlords should be mindful of timing when serving a Section 13 notice. It should be served at least one month before the proposed rent increase is due to take effect. For example, if the landlord wishes to increase the rent from January 1st, the notice should be served no later than November 30th.
The Landlord and Tenant Must Agree
It’s important to note that both the landlord and tenant must agree to a rent increase. The tenant has the right to object to the proposed increase within a specific timeframe. If the tenant does not object, the new rent becomes payable.
Read our blog on How to increase the rent when the market rises for more guidance.
What if the Tenant Objects?
If the tenant objects to the proposed rent increase, they can refer the matter to a First-tier Tribunal. The tribunal will consider whether the proposed increase is reasonable based on market rates and other relevant factors.
Serving a Section 13 Notice
To serve a Section 13 notice, the landlord must provide the tenant with written notice specifying the proposed rent increase, the date from which it will take effect, and the landlord’s name and address. This notice must comply with the prescribed form, which can be found in the Rent Increase (Prescribed Information) Order 2003.
Section 21 and Rent Increases
Landlords should also be aware of the relationship between Section 13 notices and Section 21 notices. A Section 21 notice is used by landlords to regain possession of their property once an AST has ended. If a landlord serves a Section 13 notice and the tenant agrees to the rent increase, this can help strengthen the landlord’s position if they later need to serve a Section 21 notice.
Find out more about UK Renting Laws in our blog covering both tenant and landlord responsibilities and rights.
How Blue Crystal can help you
At Blue Crystal Property Management we specialise in handling Section 13 notices for landlords seeking rent increases. We will ensure that your notice fully complies with legal requirements, serving it within the appropriate time frame and format.
We can also assist with tenant communication, addressing questions and concerns professionally, and guiding landlords through the process of handling objections, if necessary.
We also provide comprehensive property management solutions, including rent collection, maintenance coordination and tenant relationship management, ensuring a hassle-free experience for property owners.
Book your 30-minute complimentary property consultation by phone: 020 8994 7327 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.