Each year we review rent in line with government legislation. To make sure we can continue to provide quality services to you we’re raising the rent by the amount allowed. This will help us continue to carry out repairs and maintenance daily, invest in homes and neighbourhoods and plan for the future.
How have you calculated the rent increase?
If you’re a shared owner, your lease links the annual increase for the rented portion of your charge to the Retail Price Index (RPI) – this is a measure of inflation linked to the average price of a defined set of consumer goods in the UK.
At the point where our rent increase was decided in November last year, the RPI was high and in fact it has continued to rise from that point.
If you are a shared owner your rent has been calculated in line with individual lease provisions.
If you’re a tenant your rent is linked to Consumer Price Index (CPI) a different measure of inflation, and capped at a certain amount.
The increase in the CPI and RPI is caused by a number of external factors including the impacts of the pandemic, and of Brexit, on the costs of providing, shipping, importing and storing goods.
For example, a pack of 100 latex gloves used by the cleaners on our estate care team used to cost £3 – during the pandemic it rose to between £15 and £20. Price changes such as this will affect service charges to residents.
Although rent costs have increased, we still charge the lowest cost average rent of all the major housing associations in London and South East.
Why have service charges increased?
We make every effort to ensure that the amount we estimate is realistic, reasonable and as close to the amount we actually spend as possible. However, sometimes at the end of the year there will be a difference between what we collected and what we spent.
If we have collected more than we spent we may pay money back to some people. If we spent more than we estimated we may have to ask for further payment from residents.
This year particularly we are seeing that the costs of major works, and the cost of buildings insurance have risen substantially. Where possible we will apply for external funding to support residents in properties where major works are needed, but until these are secured we need to recover the costs from residents.
I’m worried I won’t be able to afford this…
Southern 360 offers a range of support and advice services for residents. We have staff that can help with welfare benefits, budgeting and income maximisation, employment and training and digital needs. We also have a number of grants available that may be appropriate to your situation.
Our service includes:
Welfare Benefits advice and budgeting
Income maximisation, grants and funding options
Utility and home energy advice (water, gas and electric)
Digital support, equipment and broadband/wi-fi
Financial hardship and crisis support
Support with essential items of furniture and white goods
Employment and training support
If you would like to talk to one of our Community Investment Support staff about what help and support is available to you, please call us on 0300 020 0549, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.southern360.org.uk
My home is managed by an external managing agent and they have charged for services they haven’t provided
Please give us details – we can challenge charges from an EMA where we do not believe a service has been provided.
I’m on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, do I need to tell anyone about the change?
If you are claiming housing benefit you will need to contact your local housing benefit office to tell them about these new charges so they can recalculate your payments.
If you receive help for housing costs in your Universal Credit, you must let the DWP know about your rent change on or after the date of your rent increase, not before. Please use the ‘confirm your housing costs’ form, which will appear as a ‘to-do’ on your online journal from 1 April.