Private residential tenancies
If the tenant is on a private residential tenancy (any tenancy created on or after 1 December 2017) the landlord can only increase the rent once every 12 months. The landlord also needs to give the tenant 3 months notice of the rent increase, using the correct notice.
When giving this notice, the landlord must use the Landlord’s rent-increase notice to tenants. Where the landlord fails to use this notice, the notice will not be effective. A rent increase notice should set out:
- the new rent that the landlord wants to charge
- from what date the higher rent will become effective (tenants should be given 3 clear months before the rent increase is to set in)
- the tenant's rights (including to refer the proposed increase to a rent officer)
The form should be completed by the tenant and returned to the landlord. Failure to do this can result in the landlord believing that the tenant had agreed to the increase and the tenant will have to pay the higher rent from the date of the notice.
Where a tenant believes that the proposed rent increase is unreasonable, they can apply to the Rent Service Scotland for a rent adjudication. A rent officer will then set the rent level based on a range of information regarding the property. The rent officer has the ability to increase the rent (if they believe it should be higher) or decrease the rent (if they think it’s too high).
The tenant simply returning the completed notice to the landlord will not automatically trigger an application to a rent officer. Instead, tenants will have to apply to them directly within 21 days.
If the tenant is an assured tenant, the landlord cannot increase the rent until the fixed-term ends. If the landlord wants to increase the rent during the fixed term, the tenant must agree to an increase or there must be a clause in the tenancy agreement which allows them to do this. After the fixed term has expired, the landlord can increase the rent by:
giving the tenant written notice of the proposed increase using Form AT2 (this can only be given to the tenant once per year)
giving the tenant written notice to change the terms of the tenancy (including the rent change) using Form AT1(L) (this can only be given to the tenant after the landlord has served them with a notice to quit)
The landlord must give the tenant as lease one rental period of notice before the rent increase becomes effective. For example, if the tenant pays rent monthly, the landlord must give the tenant at least one month’s notice before the rent can increase.
Short assured tenants
If the tenant is a short assured tenant, the landlord cannot increase the rent until the fixed term ends. The landlord can increase the rent when the tenancy agreement is renewed at the end of the fixed term.
If the tenant is a regulated tenant, the landlord can increase the rent by complying with the procedure for registering a fair rent.