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Unreasonable rent increase- advice much appreciated

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Friday 3 January 2014 12.19pm
Hello all,

I wonder if anyone might be able to advise me on an issue regarding my rent, or perhaps others might be in the same boat.

I moved into a one bedroom flat on the Winchester Estate off Union Street last March, signing a lease with Genesis Housing Association. The property has since been taken over by Grainger PLC. I received a phone call yesterday asking me if I would like to renew my lease in March, advising me that Grainger want to increase my rent significantly- by just over 18%. This increase is apparently to bring the rent "in line with rates for the area". However, as I signed the lease only last March I cannot see how this increase is justifiable. A clause in my contract with Genesis states I would have the option to renew the lease at the rate of inflation, no greater than approx 5%. But apparently this does not apply as the new lease would be with Grainger.

I intend to speak to citizens advice, though I am not sure there is much I can do. I wonder has anyone had a similar experience or have any advice? Should I perhaps try and negotiate a smaller increase?

As you can imagine, this is quite worrying for my partner and I. I don't know where we will find the money to cover this pretty excessive increase, but we also don't want to move as we work in the locality and have been very happy here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Monday 6 January 2014 9.56am
Hi Manus,

I'm no expert but understanding is that they will have to accept the contract that has been agreed by you and Genesis.

I would do two things. Firstly ask them (Grainger) to put in writing their position (as a phone call means nothing or at least, very little). I would definitely resist signing anything that replaces your existing contract.

I would also (at the same time) contact Shelter who can advise you on your legal rights.

Personally, I think they know they can't do this but are trying their luck.
Good luck and let us know how you get on.

Monday 6 January 2014 10.52am
Just to give you some numbers to compare your landlord's claim with (at Southwark Street):
Last year Peabody (formerly known as Peabody Trust) has increased their rents by 15%, the year before 13%, while not even finishing repairs to an adequate standard, refusing to install sprinkler systems in the high rises, etc.

I agree with Neil, put EVERYTHING in writing; and copy in Simon Hughes MP and your local councillors as well.

This country needs urgently to establish a legal protection from greedy landlords, like Switzerland and Germany have.
One of the reasons there are demonstrations against legal aids cuts today, not having this support will make us tenants even more vulnerable.
Tuesday 14 January 2014 6.48pm
I can't offer advice but wanted to offer my sympathy; I have a friend who is being evicted because she can't afford the increased rent on her privately rented flat. The government will never legislate on private rent levels because too many of their friends are land owners and/or landlords. Rents in this area are unaffordable and there was a story in the paper today about this. Only 1.5 people chase every job in the city and this is because they can't afford to live here. I hope you get a positive outcome.
Wednesday 15 January 2014 11.36am
For everybody who is getting into serious trouble with rent increases, please have a look at this website from the charity Shelter:

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