Rent, Service Charges and Benefits

Rent  

When you sign a tenancy agreement, 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. Also, 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 and above, and there is no lift.

Service charges 

A service charge is a charge connected to facilities or services that are related to your home. Service charges pay for estate services such as cleaning, grounds maintenance, lighting, maintaining the lift and door entry systems, including dumped rubbish or abandoned vehicles.

Other charges 

Heating and hot water 

Charges are added if there is a block heating and/or hot water system. They aren’t 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 directly to the water company. These charges aren’t covered by Housing Benefit, but paid for by you.

Miscellaneous charges 

We charge for other facilities like storage sheds and parking spaces.

For 2019/20 rent and service charges, click on this link for information to most common questions.

How much do I pay and when? 

Tenants  

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  

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 payments biweekly or monthly. If a biweekly or monthly arrangement is agreed, the rent must still be covered in advance.

Example of a monthly rent:

If the weekly charge is £127.52, the monthly payment will be
£ 127.52 × 52 weeks ÷ 12 months = £552.59 per month

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 

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’re claiming housing benefit, please inform the Housing Benefit department of your council about your rent change in good time.