Rent Review Notice Arrived - Now What?

You know the feeling: an innocuous-looking envelope arrives, looks like a bill, and inside is a Rent Review Notice from your landlord.

"What am I supposed to do with this?" you ask yourself.Well, here's exactly what you should do .

1. Don't panic!

Just because the rent review notice looks formal, this doesn't mean that, all of a sudden, you're going to have to go through a whole process, get involved with legals and fork out for a big rent increase.

Most times, your landlord doesn't actually need to serve a formal notice.

But, as most people know, if something looks formal, you're likely to respond more quickly, and you're more likely to think that you have no choice but to do what it says and pay the quoting rent.

And don't panic about the quoting rent itself. This is normally just a starting point for negotiations. It's your landlord's opening gambit, normally using the evidence that's most favourable to them. It's a smart tactic (and one which we certainly advise landlords to do).

2. Diarise dates

Check your lease, and make a note of the review date, and a date at least 6 months in advance.

Why? Because then you can start researching what the rental value should be, and you'll have enough time to budget.

We'll send you a reminder if you tell us your rent review date.

3. Check if time is of the essence

Check if the lease says that you have to respond to the Landlord's Notice within a certain time period. If it does, and you fail to respond, the landlord's quoting rent could be deemed to be revised rent.

This is known as Time Is Of The Essence - only in a small fraction of leases, maybe 1 in 50 - but it's Murphy's Law that if you don't check, yours could be the one!

4. How to respond

Normally you should mark letters or emails with the words "without prejudice", because this prevents the contents of your negotiations from being disclosed to an arbitrator or the court. You may have changed your mind, made a mistake or made an offer that you withdrew.

But, when you respond to the Landlord's Notice don't mark it without prejudice.

Why? Because if it turns out that time is of the essence, you have proof that you responded. This is referred to as 'writing in open correspondence'.

Your response should say: "Your quoting rent is not acceptable. Please provide evidence and the floor areas to show how you got to your quoting rent."

But the main thing to remember:
You and the landlord both need to be able to justify your proposed rents, based on analysis of the evidence and the assumptions and disregards in the rent review clause.

Do you need professional advice?

If it was me? Yes.

Even if your landlord is only looking for an increase of £1,000 a year, it may not be justified at all. Would you give anybody £1,000 every year if you really didn't need to?

If you send us your lease, we'll tell you if we think it's worth it.