Challenging a rent increase

There are steps your landlord must follow to increase your rent. If they've not followed the right process, or if you think the increase is unfair, you may be able to formally challenge it by applying to a rent officer or the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber).

If you get benefits and your rent goes up or down, report the change to make sure your benefits are correct.

Before challenging an increase

If you do not agree with the increase, ask your landlord if they're willing to negotiate.

Explain why you think the increase is too high. For example, tell your landlord if it's higher than other rents in your area, or if your home needs repairs.

Suggest an amount that you think would be more reasonable. If you come to an agreement with your landlord, make sure to get it in writing.

How to challenge a rent increase

The process to challenge an increase depends on what kind of tenancy you have. If you do not know your tenancy type, use our tenancy checker.

Choose your tenancy type:

Private residential tenancy

Your landlord can increase the rent any time in the first year of your tenancy. After that, they can only increase it once every 12 months.

Check your landlord has given the correct notice

Your landlord must tell you about the rent increase at least 3 months in advance. They have to use a specific form, called a rent-increase notice. You can download an example of a rent-increase notice from gov.scot.

If your landlord does not give you this form or gives less than 3 months’ notice, you do not have to start paying the higher rent. Tell them they need to follow the correct procedure.

Refer the increase to a rent officer

If you think the increase is unfair, you can either:

You must apply within 21 days of receiving the rent increase notice, and tell your landlord you're doing so.

A rent officer will compare the proposed increase to similar tenancies in your area. They may need to visit your home to make an assessment. They'll decide how much your rent should be based on the market rate.

Your rent can be put up as well as down

Check local listings before applying. If your rent is lower than average, the rent officer may decide to raise it even higher than your landlord's increase.

If you disagree with the rent officer’s decision, you can appeal to the tribunal. Download Form H from the tribunal's website and send it by post or email.


Short assured tenancy

Your landlord cannot increase the rent during your fixed term unless you agree to it, or your tenancy agreement says it will be increased.

After the fixed term ends, your landlord can increase the rent whenever they renew your tenancy agreement.

Apply to the tribunal to decide your rent

To apply, download Form AT4 from gov.scot and send it to the tribunal by post or email.

The tribunal will only decide your rent if:

  • there are enough similar assured or short assured rental properties in your area for them to compare rent levels

  • your landlord wants to charge you significantly more than those other properties

If the tribunal sets your rent, your landlord must wait a year before they can increase it again.

Short assured tenancies have less protection than other tenancy types

If your landlord disagrees with the tribunal’s decision, they could try to evict you when your fixed term ends.

If you're worried about eviction, get advice from a Shelter Scotland adviser.


Assured tenancy

Your landlord cannot increase the rent during your fixed term unless you agree to it, or your tenancy agreement says it will be increased.

Check your landlord has given the correct notice

If your tenancy agreement includes a process for increasing the rent or for calculating a rent increase, your landlord must stick to this.

If not, to increase the rent, your landlord must give you at least 1 month's notice of the increase. They can either:

  • give you an AT2 form with the proposed increase (they can only do this once per year)

  • serve you a notice to quit and then give you an AT1(L) form to change the terms of your tenancy

You can download examples of the forms on gov.scot.

Apply to the tribunal to decide your rent

You must apply within 3 months of receiving the rent increase notice, and before the date when the new rent is due to start.

The form you should use depends on how your landlord gave you notice:

  • if they gave you an AT2 form, use Form AT4

  • if they gave you an AT1(L) form, use Form AT3(T)

You can download the forms from gov.scot. Send the relevant form to the tribunal by post or email.

The tribunal will set your rent based on various factors, including the size and condition of the property and the market rate in your area.

Your rent can be put up as well as down

Check local listings before applying. If your rent is lower than average, the tribunal may decide to raise it even higher than your landlord's increase.

After the rent has been set, your landlord must wait a year before they can increase it again.


Regulated tenancy

If your tenancy started before 1989, your landlord can only increase the rent if you agree to it in writing. Otherwise, they must apply to have a fair rent registered. They can usually only do this once every 3 years.

If you disagree with the rent set by the rent officer, you can appeal to the tribunal using Form G. If you need help applying, contact a Shelter Scotland adviser.


Scottish secure or short Scottish secure tenancy

If you rent from the council or a housing association, you usually cannot formally challenge a rent increase.

Before increasing your rent, your landlord must consult you and take your views into account. They must tell you about the rent increase at least 4 weeks in advance.

If you were not properly consulted about the increase, you can complain by following your landlord’s complaints procedure.

Check how to complain to the council or how to complain to a housing association.

If your tenancy started before 2002

Some housing association tenants have the right to challenge a rent increase:

Contact an adviser if you need help applying.


Last updated: 20 May 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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