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Annual rent review

We have recently sent letters around the annual rent review. Below you can find some frequently asked questions.

Why is my rent increasing this year?

In 2016, the government told all housing associations to reduce the rent they charge for people on Social Rent by 1% each year for four years. From April 2020, housing associations will be able to increase their rents again up to a maximum set by government.

Our rental income is really important because it helps us to maintain our existing homes to a good standard and to build more new affordable homes for people who need them.

How are my service charges calculated?

Social Rent tenancy

If you have a Social Rent tenancy, the breakdown of your service charges outlines the charge for services you receive that are not covered by your rent.

Because we do not know exactly how much it will cost to provide your services next year, we have to estimate how much we think it is likely to cost. To make sure we are as accurate as possible, your new service charges are based on how much your services cost in previous years and consideration given to what services may need to be provided in the coming year.

Some of our tenancies have fixed service charges. This means that where we have under-estimated charges in a particular year, we will not be able to ask you to pay back the difference. Equally, if we over-estimate the charges, we will not be able to refund you the difference.

If your tenancy agreement states you have variable services charges we will provide you with a certificate of what was actually spent on services within six months of the end of the financial year, by 30th September. If you have paid too much, or not enough, the difference will be carried over into the following year’s charges.

Affordable Rent tenancy

If you have an Affordable Rent tenancy, you will have communal service charges included within your rent (these may have shown separately in previous notifications).You will not see a breakdown of the services provided or the charges. You may see a breakdown of some charges if these relate to personal costs - such as heating and hot water to your own home, personal electricity use or water, depending on arrangements for your building. These charges are not included within your rent.

Home Owners (Shared Owners/Leaseholders/Freeholders)

If you are a homeowner, in line with your lease or transfer document we will provide you with estimated services charges before the beginning of the financial year (1st April). Within six months of the end of the financial year (year end being 31st March), we will send you a certificate of actual expenditure which will tell you if there is any difference between what we estimated and what the actual cost has been. The difference will be applied to your account on 1st October.

What can I do if I am struggling to pay my rent?

If you are struggling to pay or would like to discuss possible payment options please contact us straight away on 0300 500 8000. We can talk you through your options. We have a team of Welfare Benefits Advisors who can make sure you are getting the money you are entitled to and advise you how to apply if you are not.

Clarion Futures Money Guidance team offers free, practical and confidential support to help you keep on top of your rent payments and other household bills. They can also link you to other services including help to get online or find work, training or local opportunities to suit you. To find out more contact Guideline using our online form.

It is always best to talk to us as soon as possible if you are experiencing any difficulty. If arrears start to get out of hand you could risk losing your home. If we know what’s going on we can work with you to take steps that could stop that from happening.