Landlord can’t increase rent despite property improvements

A landlord has lost his appeal to increase the rent on a property which had benefited from substantial improvements over two years.

The issue arose after the landlord made a set of improvements in 2008. He applied to the Rent Control Committee to be allowed to increase the rent but was turned down.

He made further improvements in 2009 and made a second application to the committee which was also rejected.

The landlord considered this to be unfair and so in 2012 he made a further application which was also rejected. The committee said it could not consider the improvements made in 2008 and 2009 because they had already been assessed at the time.

Only improvements made since the last application could be considered and as there had been no improvements since 2009, there was no justification for increasing the rent.

The landlord appealed to the High Court on the basis that although each set of repairs may not in themselves have justified an increase, taken together they were substantial and entitled him to charge a higher rent.

The court ruled against him. It held that if the landlord felt the decisions in 2008 and 2009 had been wrong, he could have appealed against them but he did not do so.

When assessing the application in 2012, the committee had been right to assert that it could only consider repairs and improvements that had been made since his last application. There was therefore no reason to say the committee’s decision had been wrong.

Please contact Ingrid Hindle in our Warminster office on  01985 214444, or Sarah Gratton in Westbury on 01373 865577, or email ihindle@mulaw.co.uk  or sgratton@mulaw.co.uk if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any matter relating to commercial property law.