Rent charges FAQ
Take a look through these frequently asked questions regarding this year's rent changes:
How has my rent charge changed?
You’ll find details of your new rent in the box labelled ‘Total New Charge’ on the first page of your notification letter.
You might see that the amount of rent you have to pay has gone down.
We’re advising all working age customers, whether currently receiving benefits or not, to pay a little extra in order to get ahead on your rent account as well as trying to build up some savings. This will help you create a safety buffer for the future in case you have to claim universal credit and experience any delays receiving your payments.
Why has my total charge gone up when the letter says the rent has gone down by 1%?
Our service charges are based on what it costs Bromford to provide services to you and your service charge may have increased by more than the rent reduction.
Just so you know, Bromford do not profit from these service charges.
Your service charges will be itemised in the notification letter. These will be marked as ‘Housing Related Service Charge’, ‘Personal Service Charge’ or ‘Additional Housing Management Charge’.
What does my rent pay for?
Last year we spent £18 million on repairing and maintaining our homes.
We also invested £20 million on improvement works including includes replacing kitchens, bathrooms, windows and doors.
Your rent also helps to cover the cost of delivering services – such as local housing management, central support services and paying interest on the money we have borrowed to build new homes.
Learn more about what your rent pays for here.
How do you work out my rent?
We set the rent part of your total payment according to a formula set by the Government. It’s based on the value of the property, the size of the property and average earnings in the area.
We are allowed to increase this annually by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as at September plus 1%. However, if you live in a general needs property, the Government, as part of their Budget Statement in July 2015 have asked us to reduce your rent by 1% each year for the following four years.
Please note that this does not necessarily mean your total charge will have reduced as your service charge may have increased by more than the rent reduction.
When will the new rent increase/decrease start?
The proposed new rent will change from April each year for assured tenants. If your tenancy is weekly your change on the first Monday in April (3 April). If your tenancy is fortnightly, the new rent will begin on the second Monday in April (10 April).
If you pay your rent by direct debit, we will arrange for the direct debit amount to be changed accordingly. However, if your rent has reduced but you want to carry on paying the same amount so you can build up a buffer on your account, please let us know.
Will I need to change my Direct Debit?
If you pay by direct debit, we will adjust your payment to the new amount. However, if your rent has gone down, you could use this opportunity to get ahead with your payments. This will help you create a safety buffer for the future in case you have to claim Universal Credit and experience any delays receiving your payments. Please let us know, so we can arrange this for you.
What will happen to my benefits if my rent changes?
If you are entitled to benefits, you will need to notify the Housing Benefit Office and the Housing Related Support Team about your new rent and service charges. This will allow them to make adjustments to these benefits if you are entitled to them.
If you receive a housing payment as part of your Universal Credit claim then you will need to notify Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) via the Universal Credit Helpline (0345 600 0723) about the new rent and eligible service charge.
If your rent is reducing, the DWP will treat the reduction as having happened at the beginning of your Universal Credit assessment period even if that is before your rent goes down.
What if I don't agree with my new rent charge?
In the first instance, please talk to us. We need to understand why you don’t agree with your new rent. If we can’t agree, you can 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 references relating to disputes over property and land. Information about how you can access The Property Chamber can be found at www.justice.gov.uk.
Can I get help to pay my rent?
If you have a low income, you may be entitled to benefits including financial help with your housing costs by claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. Click here to see if you’re entitled to any help.
If you already receive Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent, then any extra rent and service charge should be paid by housing benefit, Local Authority Housing Related Support Grant, or Supporting People Grant if you still qualify. However, you will need to notify the Housing Benefit Office and the Housing Related Support Team that deals with your claim about your new rent and service charges. This will allow them to make adjustments to these benefits if you are entitled to them.
If you receive a housing payment as part of your Universal Credit claim then you will need to notify DWP via the Universal Credit Helpline (0345 600 0723) about the new rent and eligible service charge on.
If you're struggling to pay your rent
Paying your rent is one of the most important payments you will need to make whilst you’re living in your home.
If you ever fall behind with your rent, don’t shy away. It’s important that you tell us first. We’re not here to hound you for money you may owe; we’re here to help you find a solution to get you back on track.
If you're struggling to pay your rent, call us on 0330 1234 034 straight away. We have money advisors that can ensure you’re getting the right benefits and help you with money and debt advice.
Once we've discussed your finances, we will make an arrangement with you on how much you can pay towards your rent and to help clear any arrears you may have. Think of it as an action plan. We may arrange for one of our money advisors to talk to you – particularly if you are finding it hard to cope financially or have multiple debts.
You can find more information here - struggling to pay your rent.
If you have any questions that we have not answered here, please do not hesitate to contact us.