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Rent assessment committee

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Tenants can request a Rent Assessment Committee to set rent under two circumstances:

  • First, at the beginning of a tenancy if they feel that the rent level is significantly higher that the general market level for comparable properties. This is not particularly common and can only take place during the first period of any sort of fixed term tenancy.
  • Second, the committee will be asked to intervene when notice of an increase in rent is given under a contractual periodic or statutory periodic tenancy. This applies to shorthold and assured shorthold tenancies. Any application must be made to the Rent Assessment Committee within 28 days of receiving notification of the proposed increase.

Rent assessment committees are made up of 2 or three people - a solicitor, a property valuer and a lay person, all of whom are drawn from panels of people with appropriate expertise. There are 14 rent assessment panels in England and Wales and despite the fact that they are appointed by government ministers, they are independent of both central and local government. There is usually no appeal against a committee's decision.

Usually the committee will make its decision based on the documents supplied by yourself and the tenant, but either one of you can request an informal hearing if you prefer. It will not cost you anything to have your case heard by a rent assessment committee.

The rent assessment committee decides on the rent according to the level that they feel could be obtained on the open market if the tenancy was a new one. They will not make a decision if there are not enough comparable properties.

The committee may agree the proposed rent, set a lower one or even a higher one. The rent set by the committee is the legal maximum that you may charge. The new rent level will apply from the date specified in the notice, unless the committee rules otherwise. Once the committee has made its decision, you may not propose another increase for a full year after the date on which the rent decided by the committee is payable. Unless the tenant agrees, or leaves.

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