Dealing with rent increases

Money cc_CJ Isherwood@flickrHelp, my landlord is putting up my rent!

Accommodation costs are often the biggest outgoing for single parents.  If you are a single parent and renting privately then it can be a concern if the landlord decides to put the rent up especially if you are on a fixed low income.  

The rules on when your rent can be increased depends on the type of tenancy you have, and whether the tenancy is ‘fixed term or ‘periodic’.  You need to find out what type of tenancy you have.  Most private tenants are ‘assured shorthold tenants’. If you are still within the initial fixed term of your tenancy, your landlord can only increase the rent if you agree or this is provided for in the agreement. 

Once you are outside of the fixed term your rent can only be increased if your landlord follows certain procedures. You may have the right to apply to the Rent Assessment Committee (RAC). However, Assured Shorthold Tenants do not have much protection from eviction and your landlord may choose to evict you at the end of the fixed term rather than reduce the rent. 

Many landlords will increase the rent when they renew the tenancy agreement and it is unlikely that you would be able to stop this. Your landlord may decide to find a new tenant if you don’t agree to pay. If you do sign a new agreement, you will not be able to apply to the RAC. However, you should not commit yourself to a new fixed term if the rent is unaffordable. 

If the rent increase means that you are at risk of becoming homeless then make sure you seek support as you should be eligible for help from the council if you are a single parent.  

If you a single parent and facing hardship when paying your rent, we recommended that you get some advice as an advisor could help you negotiate with the landlord and can make sure he is following the correct procedures.  Contact the One Space resident Shelter Housing expert or visit the Shelter website or ring Shelter National Helpline on 0808 800 4444.