This procedure is stated in Section 13 of the Housing Act 1988 and is only available for periodic assured and assured shorthold tenancies. It can’t be used for common law tenancies or during a fixed term.
You need to use the proper form of notice which is a prescribed form. These are freely available online from a reputable website. This Notice must be completed in full (see the notes with the form to help) and then served on a tenant.
There are various pit-falls, for example, make sure when drafting the Notice that you get the date when the new rent is to start correct – it must start on the first day of a period of the tenancy.
Also as with all important Notices, remember you may need to prove that the Notice has been served, so consider serving it by hand or recorded delivery.
Note that you need to give the tenant at least one month’s notice. During that time the tenant can, if they think the proposed rent is more than the proper market rent for the property, refer it to the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) for review.
However, if the tenant wants to do this, their form must be with the FTT within this one month period – if it is a day late, then they have lost their opportunity to challenge the Notice.
Provided the rent you set is at or below the market rent, the First Tier Tribunal is unlikely to alter it if it is referred to them.
In conclusion, the above is the procedural route, however at Horizon we strongly urge an agent or the landlord directly to communicate with the tenant and explain the situation prior or at the time of serving the Notice and giving as much time prior to the rent increase as well as a brief explanation of why the rent increase is being sought, ideally using comparable examples of similar local properties to illustrate the market rent currently.
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