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Question

Changing the Rent (England) | Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (England) | Preventing Controlling and Recovering Rent Arrears (England)

Rent Increase When Tenant Is On Housing Benefit

6 Apr 2016 | 6 comments

i have a tenant paying rent through housing benefit. i increased the rent after giving 2 months notice, by £20 per week. the tenant is still paying the old rent and now 4 months arrears has built up made up of the rent increase. now the tenant says the council advised her not to pay the increased rent as she didnt sign any agreement to the increase. is the tenant right not to agree after in effect 6 months, 4 months arrears and 2 months notice period

Answer

6 Comments

  1. guildy

    This depends how the rent was increased.

    If you just sent a letter then that is not binding on the tenant unless you were enforcing some term of the tenancy that they have agreed to. A rent increase term does not follow through into a statutory periodic tenancy though.

    If however you used a section 13 prescribed form, then s.13 Housing Act 1988 says the rent “shall” increase to the amount specified (unless they appeal which they haven’t).

    You should have in mind that when someone is on housing benefit (but not Universal Credit), they are locked into the amount they are getting for 52 weeks until their next renewal. Therefore, their HB would only increase at that next renewal. The tenant still remains liable for the increase during this period (assuming section 13 was used).

    See here for full details on increasing the rent

  2. mart05

    Thank you for the comments
    A rent increase term does not follow into —etc. does this create another fixed term tenancy, if so for how long. does it have any effect on eviction proceedings

    • guildy

      No, a new fixed term only occurs if you do a renewal tenancy or some other agreement which contains a fixed term and specifies the length.

  3. JungleProperty

    Re A rent increase term does not follow through into a statutory periodic tenancy though. Does that mean if someone was to grant a 6 month AST with an RPI rent increase term, immediately it becomes an SPT the term no longer applies?

    • guildy

      Yes that is correct, you wouldn’t be bound by the term for example could increase it more than RPI.

      It should be noted this doesn’t work with our type of agreement where it goes ‘contractual periodic’ and only works with ‘statutory periodic’. It makes no difference with our agreement though because ours remains silent on rent increases and we rely upon discussions with tenant or section 13.

      The case which decided this is here although it is only High Court and not entirely sure if it’s correctly decided (but binding until considered by the Court of Appeal).

  4. JungleProperty

    Brilliant thank you for the prompt and informative response

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