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Rent charges FAQ

Take a look through these frequently asked questions regarding this year's rent changes:

  • You’ll find details of your new rent in the box labelled ‘Total New Charge’ on the first page of your notification letter. 

    You might see that the amount of rent you have to pay has gone down.

    We’re advising all working age customers, whether currently receiving benefits or not, to pay a little extra in order to get ahead on your rent account. This will help you create a safety buffer for the future in case you have to claim universal credit and experience any delays receiving your payments. 

  • It may be that you have a service charge element to your total charge. 

    Our service charges are based on what it costs us to provide services to you and your service charge may have increased by more than the rent reduction.

    Just so you know, we do not profit from these service charges; we only charge what it costs to provide you with the service.

  • Services charges may be payable for the repair and maintenance of any communal services that are provided or any specialist support services for you or your home. Charges are based on the actual costs.

    Find out more about how our service charges 

  • Last year we spent £26m on repairing and maintaining our homes including improvement works replacing kitchens, bathrooms, windows and doors. 

    Your rent also helps to cover the cost of delivering services – such as local housing management, central support services and paying interest on the money we have borrowed to build new homes.

    Learn more about what your rent pays for here.

  • We set the rent part of your total payment according to a formula set by the Government. It’s based on the value of the property, the size of the property and average earnings in the area.

    In July 2015 the Government announced that housing association rents would be reduced by 1% for each of the next four years. The year 2019-20 is our fourth consecutive year of the rent reduction. Most of our customers will see their rents fall again this year, although a small number will see a rise. 

    Please note even if your rent has fallen this does not necessarily mean your total charge will have reduced as your service charge may have increased by more than the rent reduction.

    Find out more about service charges

  • The new rent will change from April each year. If your tenancy is weekly your rent change will be from the first Monday in April (1 April 2019). If your tenancy is fortnightly, the new rent will begin on the second Monday in April (8 April 2019).

    If you pay your rent by direct debit, we will arrange for the direct debit amount to be changed accordingly. However, if your rent has reduced but you want to carry on paying the same amount so you can build up a buffer on your account, please let us know.

    Click here to change your direct debit.

  • If you pay by direct debit, we will adjust your payment automatically to the new amount including any agreements you have in place. However, if your total charge has gone down, you could use this opportunity to get ahead with your payments or to help clear any arrears you may have.

    This will help you create a safety buffer for the future in case you have to claim Universal Credit and experience any delays receiving your payments. Please let know if you'd like to change your direct debit and keep it at the higher amount and we will arrange this for you. 

    Click here if you'd like to pay a little more and get ahead with your rent.

    This short video explains why it's good to pay a little more and have a buffer in your rent account: 

  • If you pay by direct debit, we will adjust your payment automatically to the new amount including any agreements you have in place. However, if your total charge has gone down, you could use this opportunity to get ahead with your payments or to help clear any arrears you may have.

    This will help you create a safety buffer for the future in case you have to claim Universal Credit and experience any delays receiving your payments. Please let know if you'd like to change your direct debit and keep it at the higher amount and we will arrange this for you. 

    Click here if you'd like to keep your direct debit at the higher amount and get ahead with your rent.

    This short video explains why it's good to pay a little more and have a buffer in your rent account: 

  • You can pay your rent easily by direct debit, online or by phone. 

    View the different ways you can make a payment to us

  • If you are entitled to benefits, you will need to notify the Housing Benefit Office and the Housing Related Support Team about your new rent and service charges. This will allow them to make adjustments to these benefits if you are entitled to them.

    If you receive a housing payment as part of your Universal Credit claim then you will need to notify Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) via the Universal Credit Helpline on 0345 600 0723 about the new rent and eligible service charge.

    If your rent is reducing, the DWP will treat the reduction as having happened at the beginning of your Universal Credit assessment period even if that is before your rent goes down.

  • In the first instance, please talk to your neighbourhood coach. We need to understand why you don’t agree with your new rent.

    Find contact details for your neighbourhood coach

    If we can’t agree, you can talk to the Citizens Advice Bureau or an independent solicitor.

    You can also refer your notice to The Property Chamber who handle applications, appeals and references relating to disputes over property and land. Information about how you can access The Property Chamber can be found at www.justice.gov.uk.

  • If you don't agree with the service charge please contact us letting us know what you don't agree with.

    Contact us about your service charge query.

  • If you have a low income, you may be entitled to benefits including financial help with your housing costs by claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. Click here to see if you’re entitled to any help. 

    If you already receive Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent, then any extra rent and service charge should be paid by Housing Benefit, local authority Housing Related Support Grant, or Supporting People Grant if you still qualify. However, you will need to notify the Housing Benefit Office and the Housing Related Support Team that deals with your claim about your new rent and service charges. This will allow them to make adjustments to these benefits if you are entitled to them.

    If you receive a housing payment as part of your Universal Credit claim then you will need to notify the Department for Work and Pensions via the Universal Credit Helpline on 0345 600 0723 about the new rent and eligible service charge.

     

  • Paying your rent is one of the most important payments you will need to make whilst you’re living in your home.

    If you ever fall behind with your rent, don’t shy away. It’s important that you tell us first. We’re not here to hound you for money you may owe; we’re here to help you find a solution to get you back on track.

    If you're struggling to pay your rent, in the first instance, please contact your neighbourhood coach.

    Find contact details for your neighbourhood coach 

    Your neighbourhood coach will discuss your finances with you. They'll make an arrangement with you on how much you can pay towards your rent and to help clear any arrears you may have. Think of it as an action plan. We may also arrange for one of our money advisors to talk to you – particularly if you are finding it hard to cope financially or have multiple debts. We will also make sure you’re getting the right benefits and help you with money and debt advice.

    You can also get advice from different external agencies, such as Citizens Advice BureauTurn2Us or the Money Advice Service.

    Find more advice about what to do if you're struggling to pay your rent.

If you have any questions that we have not answered here, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Further Information: