Rent review FAQs
In February 2023 we sent residents an annual rent and service charge letter to explain how much rent they’ll need to pay us from April 2023 onwards.
Why is my rent increasing?
Every year we review rents, in line with government legislation. This year we have capped our rents at a 7% increase. We’ve also capped extra care and support housing schemes to a 7% increase. This excludes extra care schemes on the Isle of Wight.
We aim to keep rents affordable to our residents.
We, like many other businesses are impacted by the current high levels of inflation. It impacts every area of our business. We’re raising rent as we want to continue delivering good quality services to you. This includes repairing, maintaining and improving your home. We also want to invest in our homes and neighbourhoods and plan for future generations.
Why are my service charges increasing?
Your service charge covers the cost of services we provide to you, your block and/or estate. With your rent increase letter, you’ll receive a breakdown of your service charges. This will show you exactly how much you pay for each service and where there has been an increase in the cost to provide this service.
The current high inflation continues to impact all our services and in particular energy costs. This is why you’ll see an increase in the cost of your service charges.
We’ve also reviewed fire safety in all our buildings following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire. Your safety is our number one priority. There’s an increase in the fire safety related services we’re now delivering. We’re carrying out more fire safety inspections by specialist contractors. We’re also investing in fire safety measures and maintaining fire safety equipment. Now, as ever, we’ve an obligation to meet fire safety regulations and follow government advice. We must ensure all our buildings continue to meet the highest standards.
What is the timescale for this rent increase?
Your rent will change from 3 April 2023 (1 April if you’re a Shared Owner or Leaseholder). We wrote to you in February 2023 to let you know what your individual rent and service charge will be. This gave you at least one month’s notice for the change.
I pay monthly – how do I calculate my new payments?
To calculate your new monthly payment, you should multiply your new weekly rent by 52, then divide by 12.
Do I need to notify the council or DWP about this change?
If you currently receive Housing Benefit and it’s paid directly to us, we‘ve already told your local authority about your new rent and charges - you don’t need to do anything.
If it’s paid to you, you’ll need to let your local authority know 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 (i.e. 1 April or 3 April), not before. Please use the ‘confirm your housing costs’ form, which will appear as a ‘to-do’ on your online journal from 1 or 3 April.
Do I have to adjust my direct debit/ standing order with my bank?
If you pay by direct debit, you don’t need to do anything. We’ll automatically adjust your direct debit.
If you pay by standing order, you’ll need to change this with your bank.
What if I'm unable to afford the increase?
Our priority is to support you to maintain your tenancy and not to fall into rent arrears. We‘ve dedicated Income and Financial Inclusion teams, trained to help you maximise your benefits and manage your money. Please take advantage of this service now to help you prepare for the rent increase.
Independently you can get free advice and support from your local Citizens Advice, or from StepChange if you’re struggling with debts.
How can I get support for paying the new amount?
If you’re unsure whether you’re entitled to benefits, our team are on hand to answer any questions you have about the benefits system, help you make a claim and discuss how these changes may affect you. If you have a scheme manager you can speak to them or call us on 0300 020 0549
What if I refuse to pay?
We appreciate you may be unhappy about the rent increase and service charge. However you must pay your rent and service charge under the terms of your tenancy or lease. If you don’t pay your full charges, arrears will build up and we’ll take action to recover the unpaid sums. You may end up facing more debt and court costs, making things even more difficult. If you have concerns about affordability, our Income and Financial Inclusion teams want to help.
If you live in a Sheltered scheme or Extra care scheme,please speak with a member of staff at your scheme if you need help with paying your rent and service charges.
Who can I talk to about these changes?
If you live in a Sheltered scheme or Extra care scheme and you’d like to discuss the changes, please talk to a member of staff at your scheme or call us on 0300 020 0549 or email: email@example.com.