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Changes to your rent and other charges

From April 2021, there will be changes to your rent and/or service charges. 
 
We understand that this is a very challenging time for many customers and our priority continues to be ensuring that customers can ultimately thrive in their homes. If you are concerned about your ability to pay your rent or service charges, please talk to us at the earliest opportunity as we are here to help. 
 
It’s important you know how your rent and other charges are worked out, so we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to explain in further detail. There are sections dedicated to every type of tenure, including rented, shared owners, and homeownership.

 

  • Paying your rent remains an important part of living in a Bromford home and every year we have to make difficult decisions based on various factors including government regulation. This year we have concluded that in order to continue investing in good quality homes and services for all, we need to make a small increase to your rent. 
     
    We do not make this decision lightly and we do understand it is a very challenging time for many customers given the ongoing nature of the coronavirus pandemic. This is why it is really important to talk to us if you have genuine concerns over your ability to pay your rent. Your neighbourhood coach is there to support you and work with you to find a way forward. 
     
    We have previously pledged that no customer will be evicted for being unable to pay their rent because of the impact of coronavirus and it is a commitment which stands true today so please speak to us if you have any concerns. 
     
    You can find additional information on our website as well as useful resources from external agencies such as Citizens Advice Bureau, Turn2Us, or the Money Advice Service. 

  • Bromford has to comply with government regulations in relation to rent setting.  Most rents for properties owned and managed by Bromford are covered by the regulatory standard known as the ‘Rent Standard’ issued by the Regulator of Social Housing. 
     
    Government policy set in October 2017 determined that social housing rents would start to increase again from April 2020 and landlords could increase the rent they charge by the consumer price index rate (CPI) plus 1%. The rate of CPI in September dictates the percentage to be applied to the rent in the following year. So, in September 2020 CPI was 0.5%, add to this the 1% set out in government policy and this creates the new figure of 1.5% which will be applied to the vast majority of Bromford rents in April 2021

  • As a not-for-profit organisation, every single penny we receive is reinvested in services for customers, such as things like neighbourhood coaches and making repairs and upgrades to your home. 
     
    The graphs below show our total income and where each £1 came from, and then our total expenditure and how each £1 was spent.

     

    Learn more about what your rent pays for.

  • Yes. A small number of properties are not covered by this policy such as market rented, shared ownership, or commercial rented properties. Instead, these rents are set based on the terms set out within the lease. 
     
    Garages are also not covered by government policy and are determined by Bromford. We have decided that these rents will also increase by 1.5%. 
     
    Bromford’s Rent and Service charge setting policy is available upon request.

  • If so, you must let the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) know of any change of circumstances that might affect your payment – this includes any changes to the amount of rent or service charges you pay. 
     
    You should have received a letter recently detailing changes to your rent and/or service charges from April 2021. To ensure that your housing costs are paid at the correct rate, you must update your UC online account with your new April rent and/or service charge details. 
     
    As any changes to your rent will become effective on 1 April 2021 for customers charged monthly and 5 April 2021 for customers charged weekly or fortnightly, you need to make sure you update your Universal Credit online account as soon as this change takes effect.

  • The new charges will apply from April 2021. 
     
    If you pay your rent monthly this will be effective as of Thursday 1 April and if you pay your rent weekly or fortnightly this will be effective as of Monday 5 April.

  • If you pay your rent by direct debit, we’ll amend your payments to accommodate the new amount and you will receive a letter shortly to confirm the new payments.

  • To get ahead with your payments or clear any arrears you may have, you can increase the amount you pay by direct debit or pay online. 
     
    This will help you create a credit balance for the future in case you have to claim Universal Credit and experience any delays receiving your payments.  

    Please let usknow if you'd like to change your direct debit to a higher amount and we can arrange this for you. 

    This short video explains why it's good to pay a little more and to build up credit in your account:

  • You can pay your rent easily by direct debit, online, or by phone.  

     

    For more information, visit this page if you’re a Bromford customerhead to this area if you have a Merlin tenancy, or click through to this page if you have a SeverVale tenancy. 

  • If you receive housing benefit, we will notify the housing benefit department of the change in your rent. They will make the adjustments to your entitlement and write to you to confirm this. 

    If you receive a housing element as part of your Universal Credit claim, you will need to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) via your UC online account as soon as this change occurs.

  • In the first instance, please talk to your neighbourhood coach. We will need to understand why you don’t agree with your new rent. 

    If an agreement isn’t reached you can also talk to the Citizens Advice Bureau or an independent solicitor. You can also refer your notice to The Property Chamber who handle applications, appeals, and reference relating to disputes over property and land. 

  • If your tenancy outlines that you have four non-collection weeks, these will take place on the following dates: 

     

    Weekly tenancies charged over 48 weeks: 

    Week commencing 23 August 2021 

    Week commencing 13 December 2021 

    Week commencing 20 December 2021 

    Week commencing 28 March 2022 

     

    Tenancies charged fortnightly: 

    Week commencing 13 December 2021 

    Week commencing 21 March 2022 

     

    Curo Tenancies: 

    Week commencing 16 August 2021 

    Week commencing 23 August 2021 

    Week commencing 20 December 2021 

    Week commencing 27 December 2021 

     

    Tenancies charged over 50 weeks: 

    Week commencing 20 December 2021 

    Week commencing 28 March 2022 

     

    If your rent account is in arrears, you must continue to pay your agreed payment during these weeks. If you pay monthly your payments have been calculated to include the non-collection weeks, so you must continue to pay during these weeks. 

  

  • A service charge is the amount payable in addition to the rent (if applicable) for the delivery of communal services, repairs, maintenance, improvements, and the landlord’s cost of management.  

    For leaseholders and shared owners, the service charge includes the cost of building insurance. 

    For example, if you live in a flat, then the cost of maintaining any shared areas, such as corridors, stairs, or a shared garden will be covered by service charges. The amount charged depends on the services you benefit from. If you don’t receive any services, then you won’t have to pay any service charges. 

  • We have a legal obligation to provide certain services where you live, and you are required to contribute towards the cost of providing these services as per the terms and conditions of your tenancy or lease. 

  • The list of services covered under your service charge are set out in the service charge statement we send to you along with your rent review letter. They will also be set out within your lease or tenancy agreement. 

    The services listed will be relevant to you and your property. 

  • If you have a fixed service charge: we review these service charges once a year at the same time as carrying out the rent review. These fixed service charges are only used to cover the costs to pay for the services you may receive. The cost for providing a service is calculated based on the previous year's costs, any known or estimated increases or decreases in cost for the current year, and any adjustments for inflation. 

    The overall cost of the service is then divided between the customers who receive the service  that way each customer only pays for their share of the services they receive. 

    If you have a variable service charge, we calculate how much your services have cost over the year and compare that to what we have charged you. If we have charged you more than we have spent, the surplus will be deducted from the following years’ service charges or applied as a credit to your account at the end of March as a lump sum. If we charged you less than we spent, then the deficit will be added on to your charges for the following year or applied to your account at the end of March as a lump sum.

    We are required to send you a breakdown of the service charge account each year, and this is normally issuein September of each year. 

    We regularly review our service charges to make sure they provide value for money.  

  • The service charge payment period normally starts in April each year. There are a few exceptions to this, and where applicable these will be shown within your lease.

  • If you don't agree with the service charge, please contact your neighbourhood coach in the first instance to raise your query with them. Where applicable we will also enclose with your letter a rights and obligations document in relation to your service charges.

  • Some of our supported housing customers will have an element to their rent called ‘enhanced housing management charge’.   

    This is the charge we make to people living in our supported accommodation and includes the following provision: 

    • Assisting customers to understand the terms of their tenancy agreement and what they are responsible for 
    • Assisting access to benefit claims 
    • Advising and helping to resolve issues when things go wrong 
    • Signposting and support with health and mobility issues from referral to successful installation of aids and adaptations 
    • Ensuring the safety and security of occupied buildingsshared areas, and appropriate access 
    • Ensuring the specialist accommodation is embraced in the local community and provide additional services through hubs and other community-based resources where appropriate. 

   

  • Rent for shared ownership properties is calculated based on a formula which you will find within your lease. 

    The exact formula can vary depending on the specific details of your lease, so please refer to your own lease document for further information.

    Increases to shared ownership rents are usually based on a combination of the Retail Price Index (RPI) and a percentage detailed in your lease. 

    Please see your lease for further details. 

  • Depending on your lease, your rent is typically reviewed either on 1 April or 1 October. Some leases provide a rent review every two years.  

    Please see your lease for further details. 

  • We will give you at least one month's notice of any change to your rent.

  • In the first instance, please talk to your neighbourhood coach. We will need to understand why you don’t agree with your new rent. 

    If an agreement isn’t reached you can also talk to the Citizens Advice Bureau or an independent solicitor. You will need to provide them with a copy of your lease. 

  • No. If you pay your rent by direct debit, we will arrange for the amount to be changed accordingly.

  • If you own a share in your property or 100% of an apartment, we arrange the buildings insurance on your home, and you will have to pay for this. 
     
    There are some exceptions when someone else owns the freehold and another managing agent provides services. If this applies to you, we will have told you when you moved in. 

     

  • Following a procurement exercise in September 2020 for the renewal of our building insurance, Bromford have appointed a new building insurance provider. This has resulted in lower building insurance costs for customers which will be reflected in the charges to be applied in the forthcoming year.

  

As a homeowner you are responsible for paying charges such as service charges, ground rent, and building insurance.  

  • A service charge is the amount payable in addition to the rent (if applicable) for the delivery of communal services, repairs, maintenance, improvements, and the landlord’s cost of management. 
     
    For leaseholders and shared owners, the service charge includes the cost of building insurance. 
     
    For example, if you live in a flat, then the cost of maintaining any shared areas, such as corridors, stairs, or a shared garden will be covered by service charges. The amount charged depends on the services you benefit from. If you don’t receive any services, then you won’t have to pay any service charges.

  • If you are a homeowner or a shared owner and live in a flat, you will usually have to pay a ground rent. Ground rents are typically between £10 - £250 per year. They are fixed amounts which do not usually change from year to year. 
     
    Your lease states how much ground rent is payable, when it is due, and if there will be any increase. Ground rent is usually payable once or twice a year. 
     
    We will send you a ground rent notice asking for payment before the ground rent is due. We will tell you how much you need to pay, when it is due and who it is payable to. 
     
    When we send you a request for payment, we will also send you a summary of your rights and obligations. You have 30 days to pay the ground rent from the date the notice is served. 

  • If you own a share in your property or 100% of an apartment, we arrange the buildings insurance on your home, and you will have to pay for this. 
     
    There are some exceptions when someone else owns the freehold and another managing agent provides services. If this applies to you, we will have told you when you moved in.

  • Following a procurement exercise in September 2020 for the renewal of our building insurance, Bromford have appointed a new building insurance provider. This has resulted in lower building insurance costs for customers which will be reflected in the charges to be applied in the forthcoming year