Rent charge changes

When rent is changed, all customers receive a letter giving notice of the new rent charges.

As your landlord, we are legally required to give you notice before the change takes effect if it’s an increase. However, we also think it’s fair to let you know if your rent is decreasing. If you have received a letter about your rent, you may have further questions. The information below should answer all your queries. The information explains how rent is set and if you need to do anything further.

 

 

How is my rent calculated in England?

 

 

Since 2001, in England Home Group has used a Government formula to set rents for social housing and any annual changes. The formula creates a “formula” rent for each property, calculated on the relative value of your home, relative local income levels and the size of the property. 

 

 

This approach is used to make sure that similar rents are paid for similar social rent properties. 

 

 

Home Group also lets properties at affordable rent (up to 80% of local market rent) where there is an agreement in place with the Homes and Communities Agency, Greater London Authority (for new housing in London) to provide new affordable housing.

 

 

Up to 2014-15, rents increased annually by the Retail Price Index (RPI) figure which was published in the September of the previous year plus 0.5%, plus up to an additional £2 where the rent was below the formula level for the property. 

 

 

In 2015-16, the target rent increased by 2.2%, which was the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figure published in September of the previous year plus 1.0%.

 

 

From 2016-17 and for the next four years, in line with government policy target, rent will decrease by 1% per year.

 

 

How is my rent calculated in Scotland?

 

 

Scotland uses a points system based on a number of factors and the Board set the rent in line with consultation with customers. Rents have increased in line with previous September RPI + 0.5% but this is reviewed every year.

 

 

What will my new rent be?

 

 

Your new rent figure and how it is calculated is detailed in the letter you received in February.

 

 

If you pay by Direct Debit you don’t need to do anything but if you pay by Standing Order please contact your bank to change your rent payments.  If you require any help to calculate your new payment amount please contact the customer service centre advisors on 0345 141 4663.

 

 

How is my rent calculated if my tenancy agreement is weekly but I pay monthly?

 

 

If you pay your rent on a different frequency to the rent period set out in your tenancy agreement (for example if you pay a monthly Direct Debit, but your tenancy agreement shows a weekly rent) then we will work out your payment using the daily rate calculation over a calendar year. For example: if your weekly rent charged is £100, the monthly payment will be calculated as follows:  

 

 

  • £100 / 7 days = £14.28
  • £14.28 x 365 (days in the year) = £5,214
  • £5,214 / 12 months = £434.52  
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    I have received a letter about my new rent. What do I need to do?

     

     

    If you already pay your rent by Direct Debit, you do not need to take any action.  If your rent account is in arrears and you already have a payment arrangement set up with us, we will continue to take this payment until the arrears are cleared. We will write to you again soon to inform you if your payment amount changes.

     

     

    Standing Order:  If you pay by Standing Order, please contact your bank to change your rent payments.  If your account is in arrears, you will need to ensure that the repayment arrangement is taken into account when adjusting your payments.  If you require any help to calculate your new payment amount please contact the customer service centre advisors on 0345 141 4663.

     

     

    All other payment methods:  You continue to be responsible for paying your rent in full and on time.  So it’s important to make sure that you continue to pay your amended rent in full and on time by your preferred payment method.  If your account is in arrears, you will need to ensure that the repayment arrangement is taken into account when adjusting your payments.  

     

     

    Why not take this opportunity to set up a Direct Debit to make sure your rent amounts are being paid regularly.  To do this or for any help to calculate your new payment amount, please contact the customer service centre advisors on 0345 141 4663.

     

     

    When do I start paying the new rent amount?

     

     

    The will start to pay your new charge from April 1st.

    Advice for benefit claimants

    Does the change in rent effect my Housing Benefit payments?

     

     

    If you receive a contribution towards your housing costs through Housing Benefit, you need to contact your Housing Benefit department at your Local Authority.  We recently sent you a letter describing how much rent you are due to pay from April 2017 to March 2018.  You should use this when informing the benefit department of any rent changes.    

     

     

    Any delays in providing this information could result in the “housing costs” element of your UC not being calculated correctly.  You continue to be responsible for paying your rent in full and on time.  So it’s important to make sure that you receive the correct amount in order to allow you to meet your rent payments.  

     

     

    Click here to find contact details for your local housing benefit department: Housing Benefit from Local Authorities

     

     

    Does the change in rent effect my Universal Credit payments?

     

     

    If you receive any contribution towards your “housing costs” element of Universal Credit, you need to contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and let them know about the changes to your rent and any other changes in your circumstances.

     

     

    We recently sent you a letter describing how much rent you are due to pay from April 2017 to March 2018.  If your rent figure has changed, you can inform the DWP in following ways:

     

    • If you are in an area operating a full Universal Credit Service, you will be sent a “to-do” prompt through your online journal with directions on how to update any changes to your claim.  You will be asked to upload a copy of your new rent letter to your claimant commitment journal.  A short film on making and adjusting claims can be viewed here: Making and Adjusting a UC Claim. 
    • In areas which operate only a live Universal Credit Service, you should use your journal to inform your job coach that you have a new rent figure letter.  You should also ask for an appointment to hand it in at your local job centre.
    If you no longer have a copy of your rent letter, please contact our customer service centre on 0345 141 4663 and ask for a new one to be emailed directly to you. Any delays in providing this information could result in the “housing costs” element of your UC not being calculated correctly.  You continue to be responsible for paying your rent in full and on time.  So it’s important to make sure that you receive the correct amount in order to allow you to meet your rent payments.