Mooney v Whiteland [2023] EWCA Civ 67 

This appeal concerned the validity of a rent increase notice under Section 13 of the Housing Act 1988. Although this case specifically related to private landlords, it has raised points which could also be applicable to social landlords. 

Section 13 of the Housing Act 1988 allows a landlord to raise the rent by giving the tenant a notice of increase in the prescribed form. A landlord can only use Section 13 to increase the rent once every 52 weeks for a periodic assured or assured shorthold tenancy and the increase cannot take effect earlier than the minimum notice periods.   


The background facts 

The landlord held a weekly periodic tenancy with the tenant at a rent of £25 each week. This was payable on the Monday of each week. However, the tenant usually paid the rent on the previous Friday.  

The landlord served a notice proposing an increase in the rent to £100.00 each week, commencing from Friday 7th December 2018, rather than Monday 10th December 2018, the start of a new rental period under the tenancy.  

The tenant did not accept the validity of the rent increase notice and continued to pay rent at the amount of £25.00 per week. Subsequently, the landlord issued a claim for possession due to alleged rent arrears.   


The possession claim   

The tenant defended the possession claim, stating that the notice was invalid due to not specifying the new rent to begin from a ‘new period of tenancy’. Although the landlord accepted that the notice was technically not correctly dated, the landlord argued that the reasonable recipient would have understood it was meant to refer to a Monday, not a Friday. 

The matter was first heard by the County Court, the District Judge finding in favour of the landlord. On appeal however, the Circuit Judge in the High Court found in the tenant’s favour.  


The appeal 

The Landlord appealed at the Court of Appeal.  The appeal was dismissed.  

It was held that the incorrect date was not so apparent that a reasonable tenant would know it was an error and what the correct period of tenancy should have been. Therefore, it was held that the rent increase notice had been invalid, and the rent had not been increased, thus, the alleged arrears were not due.  


What can we take away from this? 

All landlords, including Registered Providers of Social Housing, must ensure that the correct date is stated in any rent increase notice issued pursuant to Section 13.   


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Louise Murphy at MSB Solicitors on 


Law is correct as at 24th February 2023 

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the law in this article is correct, it is intended to give a general overview of the law for educational purposes. You are respectfully reminded that it is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No liability is accepted for any error or omission contained herein. 

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