Rent, Service charges and Benefits
When you sign a tenancy you agree to pay rent, which is the charge for living in your home. It is used to pay for services, such as repairs, maintenance and housing management. Some of the money is used to pay for improvements to residents’ homes.
The amount of rent for each property depends on the number of ‘rent units’ allocated to it. The number of bedrooms accounts for most of a property’s rent units. Units are then added or taken away depending on other features. For instance:
- Units are added if the property is a house or a bungalow
- Units are taken away if the property is without central heating or is on the second floor or above and there is no lift.
A service charge is a charge connected to facilities or service that are related to your home. The Service charges pay for estate services such as cleaning, grounds maintenance, lighting, maintaining the lift, door entry systems including dumped rubbish or abandoned vehicles.
Heating and hot water
Charges are added if there is a block heating and/or hot water system. They are not covered by Housing Benefit but paid for by you.
Water and sewerage
Water and sewerage charges are set by the local water company. For homes without a water meter, we collect the money for the water company. If a meter is installed, you pay the water company direct. These charges are not covered by Housing Benefit but paid for by you.
We charge for other facilities like storage sheds and parking spaces.
How much do I pay and when?
Rent levels are set by the government and based on the value of your home and the average income of people living in your area.
Shared owners pay rent as well as make mortgage repayments. The rent charged is a percentage of the value of the part of the property we own.
When is rent due?
Rent is due weekly in advance on a Monday. However, we accept payment every two weeks or monthly.
If a two weekly or monthly arrangement is agreed, the rent must still be covered in advance.
Example of a monthly rent payable:
If the weekly charge is £127.52, the monthly payment will be
£ 127.52 × 52 weeks ÷ 12 months = £552.59 (= monthly rent)
Leaseholders, shared owners and some residents are charged monthly. Their amount is due on the first of each month, although arrangements can be made to pay during the calendar month by direct debit or standing order.
Rent changes usually take place each April. Rents can go up or down.
Legally we have to give residents four weeks’ notice of any rent increase. We must send a ‘Notice of Variation’ letter before an increase can take effect.
If you are claiming Housing Benefit, please inform the Housing Benefit department of your council about your rent change in good time.