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Assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales

Section 13 Notice

If you are thinking of increasing the rent under a periodic assured, or assured shorthold tenancy then a section 13 notice may be an effective way forward.

This notice is named after section 13 of the Housing Act 1988, which entitles landlords to raise the rent of an assured, or assured shorthold, periodic tenancy by following a simple procedure.

The key requirements to follow are:

  1. To use the correct, prescribed form
  2. To give at least the minimum notice period, and correct effective date
  3. To propose an increase in line with the local market
  4. Not to use the procedure more than once per year

Prescribed form

A section 13 notice must be in a prescribed form to be valid. That is, the exact form mandated by law must be used and a DIY letter making reference to ‘section 13’ is not a valid notice (and thus is not enforceable).

The prescribed form may be changed by Parliament at relatively short notice and landlords are advised that the form they intend to use is up-to-date.
In England, the prescribed form was last updated on 6 April 2015.

You can download an up-to-date form from our store.

Notice period and effective date

Another requirement is to give the correct amount of notice, which is one tenancy period but no less than one month.
If the tenancy is yearly periodic then only six month notice is required.

The effective date of the increase, to be specified on the notice, must be the first day of a new period of the tenancy.

Amount of increase

The tenant is entitled to appeal the proposed increased before a Tribunal (or Rent Assessment Committee in Wales) but must lodge his appeal before the notice’s effective date.

The Tribunal assesses the proposed rent against their opinion of the market rent value of the property, which may be less than the existing rent.

Therefore, excessive increases run the risk of being challenged, with the landlord potentially losing out.

Restrictions

The rent cannot be increased through this procedure more than once a year.

If the tenancy is not a statutory periodic tenancy section 13 cannot, in addition, be used during the first 52 weeks of the tenancy.

Moreover, again if the tenancy is not a statutory periodic tenancy section 13 can only be used if the tenancy does not include a rent increase provision.

Common misconceptions

1. Section 13 cannot be used during the first 52 weeks of the tenancy

The provision only applies to contractual periodic tenancies.

This means that a section 13 notice may perfectly be used to increase the rent under a statutory periodic tenancy as soon as it is created, after the expiry of a fixed term AST, even if the tenant has been at the property for less than a year.

2. Section 13 cannot be used if the periodic tenancy includes a rent increase clause

This provision only applies to contractual periodic tenancies.

If the tenancy is a statutory periodic tenancy then section 13 may be used to increase the rent even if the tenancy includes a provision for rent increases, which can still be used as well, as confirmed by case law [1].

More on rent increase clauses

Case Law

  1. London District Properties Management Ltd v Goolamy [2009] EWHC 1367 (Admin)

First published , last edited 12/05/2015.