What is a Section 13 Notice
With all Assured Shorthold Tenancies landlords can increase the rent after the initial fixed period if it is stated in the tenancy agreement or if the tenant agrees to the increase. There may be a rent increase clause in the tenancy agreement which would have been agreed and signed at the start of the tenancy. However, if the increase is not stated in the agreement and the tenants dispute the increase then the landlords are required to follow certain procedures if they wish to increase the rent on the property. The Housing Act 1988 makes it possible for landlords to increase the rent after the initial fixed term by issuing the tenant with a Section 13 Notice.
If a landlord does not follow the correct procedure and give the tenant notice of the increase then the tenant can continue paying the set amount of rent. However, if a tenant disputes the increase this could lead to the tenants being evicted if the initial fixed period has ended.
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 18th of every month then the new increased rent should also be due on the 18th of the month.
If a landlord decides to increase the rent but does not issue a Section 13 notice then the tenant is not obliged to pay the increase in rent, unless stated in the tenancy agreement. If a landlord later tries to gain possession based on unpaid rent arrears due to the increase, then the rent increases may not be accepted by the courts. There would not then be a possession order based on rent arrears and the possession order may be refused.