If you have been living in the same rented accommodation for a while then your landlord may want to increase the rent. This section explains when and how rent can be increased, and what you can do if you disagree with the rent increase.
When can my rent be increased?
These are the general rules for rent being increased:
If your tenancy is for a fixed period of time, such as six months or a year, your landlord cannot increase the rent until the fixed period ends. The only exceptions to this are if you agree to the increase or there is a clause in your agreement saying that the rent will be increased.
If your landlord wants to increase your rent, they must give you notice. Usually they should let you know at least a month in advance when your rent is going to be increased.
The procedure for increasing rent
The procedure that your landlord has to follow in order to increase rent depends on what sort of tenancy you have. If you don't know what type of tenancy you have use our tenancy checker to find out.
Scottish secure and short Scottish secure tenants
If you rent your home from the council or a registered social landlord, your landlord must give you at least four weeks' notice before the rent increase. They must also consult you before increasing your rent and should always take your views into account.
If you used to be a secure tenant of a housing association and your tenancy was converted to an Scottish secure tenancy in September 2002, you will have additional rights:
If you think your rent is too high, you have the right to have a fair rent determined by a rent officer.
If you disagree with the rent officer's decision, you have the right to go to the Housing and Property Chamber, which can decide whether the proposed increase is fair.
Private residential tenancies
The rent can only be increase once every 12 months and the landlord needs to give you 3 months notice, using the correct notice of the rent increase. If you don't agree to the rent increase you can refer it to the rent officer. The referral to the rent officer must be done within 21 days of receiving the rent increase notice.
When a referral made to the rent officer, they will first issue a provisional order which will suggest the amount the rent can be increased. You will have 14 days from the date the provisional order is issued to request a reconsideration. If you request a reconsideration the rent officer will look at it again before making a final order and telling you the date that the increase will take place.
Increases of rent cannot happen during the fixed term unless you agree to it or your tenancy agreement says it will be increased. After any fixed term expires your rent can be increased if:
your tenancy agreement contains a procedure for rent increases which your landlord follows
your landlord gives you a written notice of the proposed increase on an AT2 form (they can only give you one AT2 notice per year)
your landlord gives you a written notice to change the terms of your tenancy, including the rent charged, on an AT1(L) form (they can only give you an AT1(L) notice after serving you with a Notice to Quit
The amount of notice your landlord gives before the rent increase takes effect must be at least one rental period (so if you pay your rent monthly, you must receive at least one month's notice before your rent goes up).
Short assured tenants
If you have a short assured tenancy, your landlord can increase the rent when they renew your tenancy agreement at the end of the fixed term of the let. However, they can't increase the rent during the fixed term.
It can be difficult to challenge the increase, as your landlord can evict you quite easily if you don't agree to it.
If you are a regulated tenant, your landlord can only increase your rent by following the specific procedure for registering a fair rent. If you disagree with the fair rent that has been registered, you can appeal to the Housing and Property Chamber.
Other types of tenants
Landlords of all other types of tenants do not have to follow specific procedures to increase the rent. In most cases, the rent can be increased at any time after a fixed term has ended.
What if my landlord doesn't follow the correct procedure?
It's important to check if you think your landlord has not followed the correct procedure. This is because:
if you're mistaken and the landlord is following the correct procedure, you'll be building up rent arrears if you don't pay the increase in rent, and your landlord could evict you
if you're right and your landlord is not following the correct procedure, by paying the increase in rent you're implying that you have agreed to the rise in rent.
Can I challenge the rent increase?
If you think the rent increase is too high, you may have the right to go to the Housing and Property Chamber if you:
are an assured tenant
are an short assured tenant
are a regulated tenant
were an assured tenant of a housing association and your tenancy was converted to a Scottish secure tenancy in September 2002.
If you are a short assured tenant, be careful - your landlord may choose not to renew your tenancy at a lower rent. if you go to the Housing and Property Chamber.
You can appeal to the Housing and Property Chamber about a fair rent that has been registered if you:
are a regulated tenant
were a secure tenant of a housing association and your tenancy was converted to a Scottish secure tenancy in September 2002.
Will my housing benefit be affected?
If you are claiming housing benefit and your rent is increased, you should inform the council housing benefit department straight away. You will have to provide evidence of the rent increase. This could be a letter from your landlord or a written decision from the Housing and Property Chamber.
The council will reassess your housing benefit claim and inform you of your new entitlement. If this does not cover the whole of your rent, and you can't pay the rest yourself, get advice.
Last updated: 24 January 2020