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FedupTeddiBear

Two Questions

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Please could someone advise - we rent through an agency, who has just sent a letter proposing a 10% rent increase starting on 10 April.

The letter arrived yesterday, 15 March - we were away so only saw it today. The postmark on the envelope (unmarked window envelope with no return address so no proof that the envelope was the one used by them) was dated 13 March but the letter is dated 26 February.

This means that we have received less than the statutory calendar month's notice from them, but the agency has sneakily dated the letter in such a way that makes it look as though we have.

Whose is the responsibility to show whether the statutory period of notice was given or not?

Also, it appears that although our tenancy started in 2008, the first record there is of the deposit being in a deposit protection scheme is in 2010 - 2 years late. If I wanted to (depends on how unpleasant they become,) would I be able to haul them up for this?

Edited by FedupTeddiBear

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The agency (and/or the LL) is making a cynical gamble that you'll pay the 10% to avoid the hassle and expense of moving.

The date of the letter doesn't really matter: the tenancy ends when the AST expires (assuming that a S21 was issued at the start of it).

I'm afraid that it boils down to a simple sum: it is worth the time and money that moving would cost to avoid the 10% rent hike? As for the deposit protection, I'm guessing that the fact that your deposit is protected now is all that matters.

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I would be tempted to call their bluff unless they have made some refurbishments in the last 6 years. Most landlords wouldn't even give a tennated house a lick of paint in that time, if that is the case then I suspect the ball is in your court.

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I would tell them NO and that you would would even only consider paying more if A, B and C are improved on the property. I haven't got time to look into it right now but I'm sure even if they push on with the 10% rise you can appeal that it is unreasonable and take it to court. Just make sure you only paid your current rent until a agreement is made.

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I'm afraid that it boils down to a simple sum: it is worth the time and money that moving would cost to avoid the 10% rent hike? As for the deposit protection, I'm guessing that the fact that your deposit is protected now is all that matters.

Yeah, thats the only thing that it comes down to. You do have bargaining power depending on the local market though; if you have been a good tenant then the landlord may prefer to earn slightly less than the market would support, to avoid the risk that comes from replacing you with a bad tenant, or having a month or so without tenants. But if the market has went up in your area to the extent where he could easily kick you out and find something willing to pay the higher fee then you dont have a particularly strong position.

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Only you can make a judgement on how good a tenant you are and how much time and effort it would take to replace you.

Do you think that the rent you paid is low? Could you easily afford the increase. ie would it cause you and your family any hardship?

As I first thought, the rent cannot be increased without your agreement. So, you do not have to sign anything and you do have rights to remind where you are. You can make life difficult for your LL if you wish.

I would start by playing the, I can't afford any more rent card or your place is run down, say that the standard is too low to increase the rent and to either keep the rent the same or increase the standard of your home.

Study your rights, too many people just agree to pay increased prices without putting up a fight. If agreeing to pay increased rent, I would be looking for major improvements to my flat and a long term (3-5 years) fix.

Of course how much hardball you play could have an affect of how your LL acts with you in the future. Without knowing a lot more about your position I can't advice you on this.

Whatever happens, you can't just be kicked out for not agreeing to pay more rent and the LL has to follow strict procedures if they want you to leave their property. That's why a lot of LL's don't bother increasing the rent until a new tenant moves in.

Check out some of this info:

https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/rent-increases

https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/settling-disputes

https://www.gov.uk/private-renting-evictions

https://www.gov.uk/private-renting-tenancy-agreements/your-landlord-wants-to-end-your-tenancy

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/wales/housing_w/faq_index_housing/faq_housing_private_landlord_wants_to_raise_rent.htm

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/wales/housing_w/housing_renting_a_home_e/renting_from_a_private_landlord.htm#h_the_right_to_stay_in_the_accommodation

Edited by renting til I die

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You can also threaten the LL with a void if he serves you two months notice not agreeing the rent rise.

In my experience,if you're outside London,they won't risk a void.Very few people will rent anywhere sight unseen.

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You can also threaten the LL with a void if he serves you two months notice not agreeing the rent rise.

In my experience,if you're outside London,they won't risk a void.Very few people will rent anywhere sight unseen.

Does the LL actually know about the letter? Some EAs send out increase letters automatically as they can then sting the LL for new contract fees too. I'd recommend if you can speak to him.her directly......

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As for the deposit protection, I'm guessing that the fact that your deposit is protected now is all that matters.

Not quite true.

Did they give you the required information on the deposit protection? If they didn't then they may be in a bit of trouble. There's a sticky at the top of this thread on what the current rules are.

As for the rent increase: say no and try and negotiate something reasonable. If they won't negotiate then only you can say if it's worth the hassle of moving

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Thank you for all of the advice. Sorry for "disappearing" – for various reasons I did not get around to replying.

Smyth, you have a point - our rent is lower than those of almost all similar properties in the area, but we have been model tenants - always paid on time, agreed to the last increase in 2012 (lower % increase) and have improved the property (painting previously filthy walls, cleaning stained carpets, removing rubble from the garden, redecorated bathroom etc) to some extent at out own expense while we have been here - yes, yes, I know, but I don't want my family to live in an armpit. Although the house was a mess, the reason we moved here was the low rent for a very good area. The landlord generally ignores any requests to improve the property, but plumbing problems, etc are sorted out quickly.

The letter they sent is a problem as the LA has provided us with less than the minimum 1 month's notice (periodic tenancy) of the proposed increase, but has dated the letter back to February informing us of a rent increase as from early April 2014 and that unless they receive a written reply, will assume that we agree to it. The postmark on the envelope (mid March) tells the truth. This of course gives us less time to consider what to do and it is too late to notify the bank of any changes.

The original letting agent was taken over by a large “property group” about a year ago and we have noticed changes.

The previous LA was always complimentary about the state of the house and we usually allowed them to carry out inspections while we were at work.

In advance of the most recent inspection (late January), we left a note to let them know that a wooden door to the lean-to outside the back had rotted away and was crumbling.

A reply was left that the landlord would be contacted about this. Two weeks later the inspection notes were emailed to us and the door was noted as “completely broken,” with no further explanation. There were also lots of notes about small marks on the walls (the walls we had painted), some chipped paint on a bannister (it is bubbling as the person who painted it before we moved in did not prepare the surface properly) and even a small sticker that my child had put on his bedroom door! I have tried to phone and have twice since emailed the LA, asking for an explanation of the inspection notes, but no reply to date.

I do not trust the new LA at all and all of this is p***ing us off. However, I have decided to send a letter pointing out all of the above and saying that we will consider accepting an increase, but not before May (allows for the full 1 month’s notice;) also proposing a 5% increase instead of 10%. This is because it will be impossible to find another rental property in the area at the same rate – no point in refusing altogether as the LA can easily find someone who will pay that value.

Gadget, they have provided us with full details of the deposit protection scheme, but these show that the deposit was only placed in said scheme 2 years after we moved in.

The “landlord” is a big multinational company who owns the entire hamlet in which I live, and others. It is impossible to contact them directly – we have tried before and it seems they only work through the LA.

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