how to increase the rent by serving a section 13 notice

How to Increase the Rent by Serving a Section 13 Notice

If you can’t come to a mutual agreement with your tenant, a Section 13 notice is a formal way to request a rent increase.

Section 13 is a way for landlords to increase the rent they charge for a property; it refers to Section 13 of the Housing Act (1988).

Landlords can only use Section 13 for assured periodic tenancies, which are tenancies that are not within a fixed term. For example, the fixed term may have expired, meaning the tenancy has automatically become a periodic tenancy

Although the Renters (Reform) Bill suggests replacing Section 13 notices with a new process, here’s how you can currently employ this method to raise the rent.

  1. Increasing the tenant’s rent by serving a Section 13 notice
  2. How to fill out a Form 4 and common mistakes to avoid
  3. How to serve a Section 13 notice
  4. Can tenants challenge a Section 13 rent increase?

Get your property listed on Rightmove and all other major property portals.

Create Advert Now

Increasing rent by serving a Section 13 notice

Section 13 is a common way to increase the rent when you can’t agree with your tenant in writing. This is a formal process and it requires landlords to fill out a prescribed form (called Form 4) and serve it on the tenant.

In this blog post, you’ll find how to use Section 13, including:

  • when Section 13 can be used
  • how to fill in and serve a Form 4

When can a Section 13 notice be served?

Landlords can only serve a Section 13 notice in a periodic tenancy and do so only once every 12 months.

The minimum notice period for tenancies with a period equal to or shorter than monthly (e.g., fortnightly or weekly) is one month. For tenancies where the rent is paid yearly, the minimum notice period is six months. In all other cases, the minimum notice is equal to the rental period. 

Once the form has been completed correctly and in full, it must be served on the tenant. The Section 13 notice cannot be served during the fixed-term tenancy period; it must be served once the agreement transitions into a periodic tenancy.

The new rent should commence at the start of a rental period. For example, in a monthly tenancy starting on the 10th of each month, the new rent becomes due from the 10th of that month.

You might also be interested in…

If there is no written agreement in place for the tenancy, and therefore no fixed term, then Section 13 cannot be used within 52 weeks of the beginning of the tenancy. In other words, it can’t be used during the first year of a tenancy that doesn’t have a written tenancy agreement. 

As mentioned above, if you have a contractual periodic tenancy that includes a rent review clause, then the terms of that clause must be adhered to and Section 13 will not be able to be used. 

How to fill out a Form 4 and common mistakes to avoid

To use Section 13, you must fill out a Form 4 and serve it to the tenant. You can easily download a Form 4 from the government’s official website.

The form provides clear instructions for completing each field and includes helpful guidance notes at the bottom to help landlords fill it in accurately.

However, here are a few common mistakes landlords make that you should watch out for:

  • Make sure you meet all the criteria specified in the above section. If you serve this notice without meeting the criteria (e.g., having served one in the past 52 weeks) then the notice will not be valid
  • Make sure the new rent is payable from the beginning of the rental period
  • Use the correct notice period depending on whether your rental period is monthly, weekly or yearly
  • The landlord or the agent acting on behalf of the landlord must sign and date the notice. If there are joint landlords, then both must sign the notice unless there is an agreement where one of the landlords can sign for both
  • Be absolutely sure to spell the names of all tenants correctly
  • Make sure you get the property address correct

Need legal help with your tenancy? Speak to our experts today.

Find Out More

How to serve a Section 13 notice

Once you have filled out a Form 4, you will need to serve it on the tenant. 

You can serve the notice through first-class post, hand delivery, or via a process server, unless the tenancy agreement indicates a specific method.

Can tenants challenge a Section 13 rent increase?

If the tenant accepts the proposed rent increase, they simply need to pay the new amount on the next rent day. 

If they do nothing then the rent increase is deemed to be agreed by both parties, and the rent will be payable from the beginning of the next rental period. 

The tenant can challenge the rent increase by referring it to the first-tier tribunal (also known as the Property Chamber), which resolves disputes concerning property and land. This action must be taken before the proposed new rent’s starting date.

The tribunal reviews the tenant’s application and determines the rent the landlord could expect if offering the property to the market under the same terms offered to the tenant.

The tribunal may decide to keep the current rent, adjust it by a different amount, or even set a lower rent.

OpenRent can keep a record of all payments made and chase tenants if they go into arrears on your behalf.

Order Rent Collection

If the tenant pays the new rent once, it implies their agreement to the ongoing rent increase. To change the rent again, the consent of both parties or a Section 13 notice is required – but remember, you can only use it once every 52 weeks.

If the tenant fails to submit an application to the tribunal before the new rent is due, it also implies that they’ve accepted the rent increase.

Once the fixed term ends, and if there are no provisions regarding rent review in the tenancy agreement, the notice can be served the next day, with the increase taking effect in the following rental period.

Landlords can serve a Section 21 eviction notice and a Section 13 rent increase notice at the same time.

This blog post contains contributions from Paul Shamplina, the Founding Director of Landlord Action. Landlord Action is the recommended Legal Partner of OpenRent and is Regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority. Contact Landlord Action today.

Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for Mr_T Mr_T says:


    What happens if the tenants disagree in writing with the proposed rent increase after being served a Section 13 but fail to refer it to the first tier review system?

    Thank you.

Continue the discussion at


Avatar for system Avatar for Mr_T

This article is not intended to form legal or investment advice. Investments in property are not guaranteed and can decrease in value as well as increase.