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?
The amount of rent increase applied to you will be in line with your tenancy agreement or lease. It will be tied to either the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or Retail Price Index (RPI) – these are costs of goods that the government uses to measure inflation.
Tenants on social rent, affordable rent or London affordable rent will be subject to CPI (as measured in September) plus 1%. This means a maximum increase of 4.1%.
People on intermediate market rent are subject to RPI (as measured in September) plus 0.5%. This will be a maximum increase of 5.4%.
People on market rent will be subject to a maximum increase of 2.5%.
At the point where our rent increase was decided last year, the CPI and RPI were high and in fact have continued to rise from that point.
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 email@example.com 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.