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How to increase rent in 2024

Model of house showing rent going up

In this blog post, I explain how landlords can handle rent increases in a fair way that balances their needs with those of their renters, and complies with the law in England. This is the approach of a good landlord, which recognises that private landlords are running a business, and not providing social housing.

In writing this post, I draw on both my experience as a lawyer, and as a self-managing landlord who handles my own rent increases myself.

Last updated: 21 March 2024.

>> Related Post: How to be a good landlord

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What are rents doing in 2024?

Graph showing private rent annual inflation in England, February 2024, ONS, released 20 March 2024

There were a lot of headlines about the high rent increases in 2023, particularly for new tenancies, as the private rented sector adjusted to living to higher inflation, higher interest rates and a shortage of rental properties.

The shortage has been due in part to landlords leaving the PRS, and there has also been less turnover of renters. First-time buyers have become priced out of the property market with the increase in interest rates. They’ve been staying put in their rental properties while they save. Also, hasn’t been the usual churn of renters, as the increase in asking rents is causing many to stay put.

After a long period of stable rents, low interest rates and low inflation, rents rocketed in 2022 and 2023. However, there are already signs that the rate of increase is slowing down in 2024.

However, both Rightmove and Zoopla have predicted a “major slowdown” in 2024 due to affordability, and expect rent on new listings to increase by only 2-3% in London in 2024, and by 5-9% in the rest of the country. That said, the February 2024 ONS data, which combines data for new and existing tenancies, shows that the average rent increase across the UK in the 12 months to January 2024 was 9.0%.

For context, the average increase across the UK at the end of 2022 was 4.2%.

How much is the average rent increase in 2024 across the UK?

ONS data tells us that the average rent increase for both new and existing tenancies in the 12 months for private tenancies increased by 9.0% in the 12 months to February 2024 across the UK as a whole. Rent increased to an average of £1,276 (8.8%) in England, £723 (9.0%) in Wales and £944 (10.9%) in Scotland. The inflation in private rents was highest in London (10.6%) and lowest in the North East (5.7%).

As this data is an average of both new tenancies (where rents are increasing rapidly) as well as existing tenancies, this means that rent increases for those already living in the property will be lower than 9%. This is because landlords usually rebase the rent to the market with new tenants, and don’t keep pace with rental inflation with their existing tenants. When inflation was low, most landlords only increased rents when tenants moved out.

Rightmove is predicting that rents will increase by 5% outside of London in 2024, and 3% in London in 2024. For Q4 2023, they reported drops of -0.8% in the South East, -0.9% in the South West and -0.4% Scotland.

Zoopla is slightly more bullish for the rest of the UK for 2024, and predicts average rents will increase between 5% and 8% across the UK. However, they’re more pessimistic than Rightmove for London, predicting an increase of only 2%, because of worsening affordability as the average renter in London spends 40.4% of their earnings on rent, which is considerably higher than the UK average of 28.4%.

>> Useful Resource: ONS, Map showing price index of private rent by local authority, published March 2024

Average rent for new tenancies in Q4 2023

When referring to average rent increases for new tenancies, the amount differs between single let tenancies and HMO rooms.

What was the average rent increase for new single let tenancies in 2023?

According to the Q4 2023 data from Rightmove, the average asking rent for new single let tenancies in the PRS excluding Greater London increased by 9.2% (£1,280) in the twelve months to December 2023. This is considerably more than CPI inflation, which was 4.0% in the 12 months to February 2024.

This is an average increase in rent of more than £350 from £923, when compared to pre-pandemic mid-2019.

It’s even worse in Greater London where average rents are now £2,631 pcm, up 6.1% on a year ago. This has slowed down from the increase of 12.1% in the 12 months to September 2023.

However, as you can see from the table below, the rate of increase varied considerably across England, Scotland and Wales in 2023. The highest average annual rent increase for new tenancies is an eye-watering 14.5% in Scotland. The region with the lowest percentage increase is Wales at 5.9%, followed by the South West at 7.8%.

Region/ CountryAverage increaseAverage rent pcm
South East7.5%£1,791
East of England9.6%£1,553
South West7.5%£1,384
East Midlands9.3%£1,123
West Midlands10.6%£1,143
Yorks. and The Humber9.4%£1,010
North West11.1%£1,118
North East9.6%£865
Average GB ex London9.2%£1,280
Average rent & 12 month increase, single let new tenancies in England, Scotland & Wales: Q4 2023
Source: Q4 2023 Rightmove Rental Trends Tracker published 5 October 2023

How much did room rents increase for HMOs in 2023?

According to the Q4 2023 data from SpareRoom, the average rent including bills for an HMO room in the UK outside of London is now £721. This is an increase of 16% on Q3 2022. However, with the rise in energy costs, it’s may be understandable that the average rent has gone up more than for single lets where bills aren’t included. However, this increase is more than the change in energy costs.

In London, the average rent for a room in an HMO broke the £1,000 pcm barrier for the first time. The yearly increase was 9% in 2023, and is now an average of £1,014 per room, up from £934 per room in Q4 2022. There are now only 4 London postcodes with average room rents under £800, with the lowest being SE23 (Forest Hill) at £760 pcm and E18 (South Woodford) at £762 pcm.

However, there are signs the market in London has started to slow down as rents decreased by 6% year on year in in SW13 (Barnes) and E18 (South Woodford).

Click here for a comparison between average rents for single lets and HMOs in Q4 2023.

Region/ CountryAverage increaseAverage room rent
East Anglia9%£651
East Midlands10%£562
North East8%£533
North West11%£581
South East11%£732
South West9%£649
West Midlands13%£559
Yorkshire & Humber9%£555
Northern Ireland19%£530
Av UK ex London11%£647
Average HMO room rent and 12 month increase in England, Scotland, NI, Wales: Q4 2023
Source: Q4 2023 SpareRoom Rental Index

How much can English private landlords increase the rent by in 2024?

arch of stones perfectly balanced
It’s a question of finding the right balance when landlords put up rents

How much can landlords increase the rent by in 2024? In England, there are no legal limits on the amount a private landlord can increase rents in the private rented sector. (There’s a cap of an increase of 7.7% for social housing in 2024-25). This means that landlords have the freedom to set the rent to whatever level they think fit. That said, if it’s above the market rent, the tenant can challenge the rent increase in the First-tier Tribunal. Click here for more on the First-tier Tribunals.

Also, there’s always the practical cap of affordability and competition. If the increase is more than the market rent for the area, renters are likely to vote with their feet and leave. If the rent is more than they can afford, even if it’s the market rent, they’ll probably leave and find somewhere smaller, or in a cheaper location.

Part of being a good landlord is acting reasonably and hiking the rents up by a large amount in one go for existing tenants is simply not reasonable. Just because the law allows you to do something, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

What is a fair and reasonable rent increase in the UK in 2024?

A fair and reasonable approach is for private landlords to increase the rent by up to wage inflation. As the ONS data released in March 2024 showed that annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) in the 12 months to February 2023 was 6.1%, and increase in real terms (after inflation) od 1.8%, a rent increase of up to 6% is reasonable for existing tenancies in 2024, assuming that is not more than the market rent. However, this will depend on what rents are doing in your area, and how far you are from the market rent.

Keeping rent increases at around wage inflation means the increase is more likely to be affordable for renters, and less likely to end up causing them to fall into arrears. As the increase in CPI inflation was 3.4% in the 12 months to February 2023 (ONS – February 2024), down from 10.4% for the 12 months to February 2023, it helps landlords whose costs have been increasing significantly over the past year or so.

7.7% is the cap for rent increases for social housing for 1 April 2024 – 31 March 2025, according to this announcement.

>> Tip: The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is a more relevant measure for renters as this index excludes owner occupiers’ costs. CPIH, which is used widely in the press, includes owner occupiers’ costs.

It’s best to find the right balance of improving your return with smaller rent adjustments each year, rather than doing it all in one go, which can cause renters considerable hardship.

>> Related Post: How to be a good landlord

How often can landlords increase rents?

The rule of thumb for the frequency of rent increases is once a year. But this depends on the type of tenancy, whether there’s a rent review clause and whether the tenants agree. As an aside, if the Renters Reform Bill comes into effect, landlords will only be able to increase the rent once a year, and will need to use a Section 13 notice. See below for more details.

As the law currently stands, the frequency of rent increases for the types tenancies and contractual terms in England is as follows:

1. Rent review clause

If there’s a rent review clause in the tenancy agreement, either fixed term or contractual periodic tenancy (where the tenancy agreement states it is periodic), the landlord will need to follow that clause.

Usually, a rent review clause would refer to reviewing the rent once a year.

2. How often can landlords increase rent during a periodic tenancy?

Landlords don’t normally increase the rent more than once a year under a periodic tenancy. However, technically, they can increase the rent more than once a year if the tenants agree.

Sometimes landlords and tenants agree to have two increases in 12 months as a way of phasing a rent increase in two stages, if the rent has fallen behind the market.

3. Can landlords increase rent in a fixed-term tenancy?

Landlords cannot put up the rent in a fixed-term tenancy, unless the tenants agree to amend the tenancy agreement or the tenancy agreement contains a rent review clause (this is popular for longer fixed-term tenancies).

If the tenants don’t agree or if there’s not a rent review clause, the increase will need to wait until the end of the fixed term, and negotiate it as part of the renewal or when the tenancy becomes periodic.

4. Can landlords increase rent twice in 12 months?

It’s possible to increase rent twice in 12 months if the renewal fixed term periods are for 6 months. The first rent increase would be in the first 6 month renewal and the second increase in the second 6 month renewal. In other words, a 12 month fixed term tenancy can be ‘renewed’ by a 6 month fixed term, followed by another 6 month term. A “renewal” for a 12 month fixed term tenancy doesn’t need to be for the same length of time.

If a landlord does wish to use two-stage method, they should be open with their renters about it, and explain it’s to phase the increase.

5. How often can landlords increase rent using a Section 13 notice?

If the landlord and tenant can’t reach agreement, the landlord will need to use a Section 13 notice to increase the rent.

A landlord can only use a Section 13 once every 12 months, and it can’t be during a fixed term period. This will be the only way that landlords can increase rent after the Renters Reform Bill comes into force.

>> Related Post: How to increase rent using a Section 13 notice.

>> Related Post: Renters Reform Bill Timetable: What happens when?

The different ways landlords can increase rent in England

It’s currently relatively straightforward for landlords to increase rents in England, so long as they follow the relevant process correctly. That said, the process will change when the Renters Reform Bill comes into effect. See below for more details.

Here are the three different ways you can do it, although the choice between depends on whether or not the assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST) has a rent review clause.

1. Increasing rent with a contractual clause

leaders' rent review clause
Example of a 2019 rent review clause from Leaders

The first thing to do is to check the AST to see if it has a clause like the one above, which would give the landlord the contractual right to increase the rent. Some, but not all, ASTs, have these rent review clauses. They make increasing the rent straightforward, but they must be followed to the letter.

As an example, the clause above allows the landlord to increase the rent by a set 5% each year. The clause was in Leaders’ standard AST when I let a property through them in 2019. Although this clause gave me the right to increase the rent by 5%, I chose not to increase the rent. Like many other landlords during the pandemic, I kept the rent the same.

This clause is particularly restrictive and clauses can certainly be more flexible. For instance, up to 5% rather than a flat 5%, or up to the rate of CPI inflation.

2. What can landlords do if the rent review clause is too low?

With CPI inflation having reached double figures in 2023, and rental inflation increasing by a similar rate, a rent review clause with a cap of 5% prevented landlords from increasing rents to the market for existing tenants.

This is because landlords can’t increase the rent by more than the amount stated in the rent review clause unless the tenants agree. One way to change the clause is to ask the tenants to enter into another agreement at the end of the fixed term. If the tenants “renew” for another fixed term, and the new AST doesn’t include the rent review clause, the landlord will be able to increase the rent when the fixed term contract expires, as the rent review clause will not apply.

Landlords should be open and transparent with renters about this, and explain why they need to increase the rent above the amount in the rent review clause.

Rent review clauses can apply to both fixed-term and contractual periodic tenancies. However, they will no longer apply if the tenancy becomes a statutory periodic tenancy. Many ASTs which do have rent review clauses will have provisions which turn the fixed term into a contractual periodic tenancy, so that doesn’t necessarily help.

Finally, if the AST has a rent review clause, you cannot use a section 13 notice to increase the rent.

3. Can a landlord put up rent by agreement with their tenants?

Yes. If there isn’t a rent increase clause in the agreement, the landlord (or letting agent) can try to agree the level of the with the tenant.

The more reasonable the increase, the easier it will be able to reach an agreement. They’ll probably understand that landlords are affected by rising costs and interest rates. However, keeping the increase around wage inflation is likely to be more palatable for affordability reasons.

If your increase is below wage or CPI inflation and average local rents for new tenancies, you should point this out. Explain that you want to find the balance between what’s affordable to the renters and what’s affordable to you.

As long as your proposal is reasonable and realistic, they’ll probably be relieved it’s not as high as the figures they’ve seen in the media.

You can document this by sending them a letter to countersign, which says the parties agree the rent will increase to £x (an increase of y%) with effect from z date. The date of the rent increase should align with the usual rent payment date. Once they do pay the increased amount, they have accepted the increase. However, do be aware that if they change their mind and ignore the letter, you’ll need to follow the Section 13 Notice procedure to make it binding.

4. Increasing rent using a Section 13 Notice

If a landlord isn’t able to agree on a rent increase with their tenants, and it’s not during a fixed term tenancy, they can serve a Section 13 notice on the tenants. A Section 13 notice can only be served once every 12 months. The Section 13 notice sets the new rent, unless it’s successfully appealed by the tenant at a rent tribunal (see below).

If the rent is paid on a monthly basis, the landlord needs to give a month’s notice under Section 13, and start the new rent at the beginning of a rental period. For example, if the monthly periodic tenancy starts on 2nd of each month to the 1st of the next, the date on the notice must be the 2nd. It’s the periodic tenancy date which is key, not the date on which the rent is paid. If the correct date isn’t used, the notice will be invalid.

The landlord needs to serve a Section 13 notice using Form 4. Click here for the official Form 4 on the government website.

Once the Renters Reform Bill comes into effect, landlords will have to use a Section 13 Notice to increase rents.

>> Related Post: How to Increase the Rent with a Section 13 notice

5. How much notice do landlords need to give to increase the rent?

Landlords need to give at least one month’s notice of a rent increase 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 28th of every month then the new increased rent should also be due on the 28th of the month.

How should landlords document the new rent?

There are various ways to confirm the new rent when it’s agreed with the tenant, but there isn’t a rent review clause in the tenancy agreement:

  • For a periodic tenancy, landlords can issue an addendum to be signed by the tenants to show it’s agreed. This can be very simple and state that the parties have agreed that the rent will increase to £x from y date. It can also be done in a letter.
  • The safest approach is for landlords to use a Section 13 notice (Form 4) even if the rent is agreed, so long as it’s not during a fixed term. The tenancy needs to be periodic for a Section 13 notice and doesn’t need signing by the tenant. It does look quite officious, which is why I either use an addendum or issue a new tenancy agreement, depending on whether the tenancy is periodic.
  • For a fixed term tenancy that is being renewed with a new rent, the simplest approach to issue a new tenancy agreement with the new rent for the new term. I use the NRLA tenancy agreement for this.

If there’s a rent review clause in the tenancy agreement, follow the process that’s in the agreement. It will probably refer to a Rent Review Notice (as per the example above).

Can tenants appeal or challenge a Section 13 rent increase notice?

Rent tribunal

If the tenant doesn’t agree to the rent proposed in the Section 13 notice, they have the right to challenge it by referring the notice to the First-tier Tribunal. They must do this before the date the rent increase is due to start.

The renters need to use Form Rent 1, which asks form detailed information on the property (rooms, facilities, type of property, furniture, repairs). Click here to download Form Rent 1 from the GOV.uk website.

In setting a rent, the tribunal will assess what rent the property would reasonably achieve if it were let on the open market under a new tenancy on the same terms. This means that the tribunal may set a rent that is higher, lower or the same as the proposed new rent. It’s therefore a risk for the tenants to challenge a rent that is below market as the tribunal might set a higher rent.

The tribunal can take into account any repairs that the landlord should have taken care of. Additionally, they can take account of the value of any improvements the tenant has made themselves.

The tenant will still need to keep paying the old rent until the tribunal makes a decision.

So long as the proposed rent increase is no more than the average for a similar property in the area, the tribunal is unlikely to decrease the rent.

>> Related Post: Section 13 notice and appeal process.

How would the Renters’ Reform Bill change rent increases?

man reading the Renters reform bill provisions about increasing rent on an ipad
The Renters Reform Bill proposes making the use of Section 13 notices compulsory

The Renters Reform Bill promises to overhaul the way landlords increase rent.

First, landlords would no longer have the option to agree a rent change informally with renters, or have rent review clauses in tenancy agreements. Instead, they’ll need to issue a Section 13 notice in a new format to be published on the GOV.uk website.

Landlords would need to give at least 2 months’ notice of a rent increase (instead of one month’s notice at present), and will only be able to increase the rent once a year. The rent in the notice would come into effect unless the tenant applies to the Rent Tribunal before the proposed rent increase.

The First-tier Tribunal would only decrease the rent if, as now, if the tribunal decides it’s above the market rent for the property. This means there would be no rent cap in England after the Renters Reform Bill comes into effect.

These changes seem very bureaucratic to me. Whilst I can understand why rent review clauses should not be included in tenancy agreements, I don’t understand why rents can’t be agreed informally, as they are now. I think it would look very officious sending one of these notices. I’d chat to my renters beforehand anyway, and propose the change informally, before confirming it in writing.

Of course, the Bill is still going through parliament, and the final version may well be different, or may not make it to the statute book before the election. You can check the latest status of the different moving parts in my Renters Reform Hub.

>> Related Post: Renters Reform Hub

Final Thoughts

As the law currently stands in England, landlords may increase rents so that they keep up with the market rent for that type of property in the locality.

However, the worst approach for a landlord is to put up the rent by more than inflation in one go. Even if it’s to catch up on what has become below market rent. This is likely to be difficult for the renters to manage. It’s also not a good way to treat renters.

Rent increases are never going to be popular, but they’re necessary in periods of high inflation. However, it’s fairer to renters to do them gradually over time, rather than in one big go. Good landlords come up with a figure that’s fair and reasonable for them and their tenants, and follow the process correctly.

>> Related Post: How to be a good landlord

>> Join: The Independent Landlord Community Private Facebook Group (landlords only)

Law and data as of 21 March 2024

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18 thoughts on “How to increase rent in 2024”

  1. Need some advice! I’d previously taken my tenant to court for rent arrears and got a suspended possession order but suspended providing she continued to pay rent from now on. She paid a couple of months then was late so I applied to court and finally got a warrant for possession. This warrant has now been suspended due to her ‘hardship’ circumstances and another hearing has been set for 20 weeks time. She has not had a rent increase for 3 years and is on an AST thats become periodic. Following recent valuations she is paying well below the current market value. My question is: Can I issue a Section 13 with a suspended possession order and warrant in place?

    1. Hello. So sorry to hear about this. Sounds like you’ve been through the mill.

      I’m unfortunately not able to give individuals advice on this blog. I suggest you call the NRLA membership helpline. They are brilliant at this sort of thing. If you’re not a member, you can get £15 off by using my referral code: UYN-702. I hope it all works out ok.

    1. So sorry to hear that. If you’re in England, there are no rent controls and private landlords can choose the level of the rent increase. If you’re not happy, you can appeal the increase in the First Tier Tribunal. If the rent is above the market rate, the tribunal has the power to lower the rent. You should be able to get some help from Shelter or Citizens Advice for more advice on what to do.

  2. Hi

    My tenancy agreement has a clause which states clearly that the rent will be reviewed annually and increased according to inflation? Can I still serve a section 13 notice to get a higher rent ?

    1. I can’t give legal advice, so please don’t rely on this, and call the NRLA to check (if you’re a member). However, unless your tenant agrees to the change, you’re bound by the clause. As inflation is so high, I’d have thought that would be a fairly big increase anyway. I keep mine under wage inflation.

  3. I havent increased the rent for over four years with the same tenant, the rent is now 30% below market value and my costs have increased substantially. I have a rent clause and the contract is in a ‘contractual periodic tenancy’.
    I will try to negotiate a phased increase below market value as you suggest however this which would be above the rent clause, if this approach fails it looks like my only option to get out of this situation is to issue a section 21 to either put the house back on the market to rent or to sell. The tenants are good people however I need to be able to afford being a landlord. Could you suggest what other approaches I could take to get myself unstuck in this situation. Thanks

    1. I can’t give individual advice…

      But I think my approach would be open to them, and explain to them that you need to increase the rent above the amount in the rent review clause for the property to remain viable for you. You could propose a reasonable phased increase by amending the rent review clause in the contract (which would have been drafted in a low inflation world) or by asking them to enter into a new agreement without a rent review clause. You could use the NRLA standard, and put the new rent in it. If they don’t do that, you’ll need to serve section 21. I’ve found that as long as I’m reasonable, my tenants are fine about increasing the rent. If the rent is not above the market, they won’t be able to challenge it. I hope that helps.

      1. If I was to serve a section 21 after a rejected rent increase then the tenant go to court as I will clearly be giving them notice to leave after I tried to increase the rent above what the contract clause states. This is more a question more on the how the courts might deal with this type of situation, the current mood, or if there are any precedents for this situation? Thanks again for any insights.

        1. The courts don’t have discretion to reject a section 21 application in these circumstances (assuming the notice is otherwise valid, with the landlord obligations complied with).

          1. If there was an agreement with a tenant for 3 rent increases every 6 months to below market price, could the tenant then argue months down the line and apply for unfair rent increases as landlords are guided to increase the rent once a year.
            Or would it be safer to have 3, 6 month contracts to avoid any problems?

          2. Tenants can challenge rent increases if they are more than the market rent, or if you use section 13 more than once in a 2 month period. 3 fixed terms of 6 months would be less risky, but they could always refuse to enter a second one. I think you could do the increases contractually if periodic, but you should get legal advice on this.

  4. hello, ive been a landlord since 2009, my longest term tenant is around 10 years, while interest rates were low i didnt increase rents as i didnt need to, i realised that i was going to need to increase them when the interest rates went up, luckily im on fixed terms so no panic, i looked at my portfolio (9) to see what i needed to do, no point just hitting the unlucky tenant whos in a house that the mortgage deal is coming to an end in.

    the upshot was i needed to increase rents generally from £500 to £600, so i emailed my tenants last autumn to say look the rents are gonna have to go up, itll be £40 this april, £40 next april and £40 the april after, gets me where i need to be in 2 years and eases tenants into the extra cost

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