Changes to your rent and other charges - Rented customers
Each year, there will be changes to your charges. This page explains more about how your charges are calculated.
Why does my rent change?
Our rental income pays for all of the services we provide to our customers, and for the maintenance of their homes. Every year we have to make carefully considered decisions relating to rent increases, which also have to follow strict guidelines set by Government.
We have decided that in order to continue investing in good quality homes and services for all, we need to make an increase to the rent to be applied from April 2024.
How much is my rent increasing by?
We have calculated the rent increase in accordance with the Government’s ‘Rent Standard’ formula, which allows social housing providers to increase their rents by 1% plus the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for September 2023.
CPI in September 2023 was 6.7%, the increase therefore from April 2024 will be 7.7% (6.7% + 1%).
What does my rent pay for?
Using figures from the financial year, 2022/23.
As a not-for-profit organisation, every single penny we receive is reinvested in services for customers, such as things like customer-facing services and making repairs and upgrades to your home.
One of our key strategic aims is to provide more of our customers with a home that is safe, secure, and warm and for each pound spent last year, 20p went towards repairing and maintaining our customers' homes.
We also invested 26p in surpluses, such as helping to build more of the new homes this country needs.
13p of every pound went towards our interest bill and the repayment of the loans used to build your Bromford home.
What other charges may I have to pay?
Service charges - A service charge is the amount payable in addition to the rent (if applicable) for the delivery of communal services, communal repairs, maintenance, improvements, and the landlord’s cost of management.
For example, if you live in a flat, then the cost of maintaining any shared areas, such as corridors, stairwells, 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.
Other charges – Some customers may receive additional support services or enhanced housing management as part of living in their home. Where applicable, charges will be applied to cover the cost to Bromford for delivering these services.
Why do I have to pay for service charges?
We have a legal obligation to provide certain services where you live and to maintain any communal areas, and you are required to contribute towards the cost of providing these services as per the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement.
For customers living in supported accommodation, Bromford is required to provide additional services and facilities appropriate to living in supported housing. Bromford may also provide additional support to customers living outside of supported housing, based on their individual needs.
What is included in my service charge?
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 tenancy agreement.
The services listed will be relevant to you and your home.
How do we calculate your service charge?
Service charges are applied using two different methods, ‘fixed’ or ‘variable’.
If you have a fixed service charge: we review these service charges once a year, usually at the same time as carrying out the rent review. The service charges you see in your letter will be an estimate of what we believe it will cost to deliver the services you will receive from April. This estimate 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.
We aim to ensure our service charges are applied as fairly as possible and represent good value for money. However, as the service charges are fixed each year, this means it is possible that customers may be overcharged, and any difference/surplus cannot be recovered. Equally, if customers are undercharged, Bromford also cannot recover any deficit.
If you have a variable service charge, the service charges you will see in your letter will be an estimate of what we believe it will cost to deliver the services you receive from April. We calculate how much your services have cost over the previous full year, and compare that to what we have charged you for that year.
If we have charged you more than we have spent, the surplus/credit will be offset against the following years’ service charges to reduce them. If we charged you less than we spent, then the deficit/shortfall will be added on to your service charges for the following year. This means customers will only ever pay the actual costs incurred by Bromford, no profit can be made through service charges.
We are required to send customers with variable service charges, a breakdown of the service charge account each year. This is normally issued in September of each year and will set out the comparison between the costs incurred for the services received, compared to the service charges applied, setting out any difference.
What if I am unhappy with the services I am paying for?
If you are unhappy with the delivery of the service you are paying for, please contact your neighbourhood coach in the first instance.
What if I think my rent or service charge has been calculated incorrectly?
Please contact your income management advisor with the details of your query. They will liaise with our rents and service charge team to review your charges and address any issues where applicable.
What if I have already contacted Bromford in relation to my charges, and I am still unhappy?
For customers with variable service charges we will enclose with your letter, a ‘rights and obligations’ document in relation to your service charges. This details your right to refer your charges to the First Tier Tribunal – Property Chamber if you remain unhappy with your service charges. The First Tier tribunal can review your charges and make a decision on whether they are reasonable.
More information can be found here: https://www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals/residential-property#leasehold
For customers with fixed service charges, as your service charges are not variable, it is not possible to refer to the First Tier Tribunal for a decision on whether they are reasonable.
Customers can contact agencies such as Citizens Advice Bureau for independent advice or an independent solicitor.
You can also contact our customer solutions team to make a complaint here Complaints | Bromford
Are you claiming benefits to help with rent payments?
What will happen to my benefits if my charges change?
You should have received a letter from Bromford in February detailing changes to your rent and/or service charges from April.
If you claim housing benefit which is paid directly to Bromford, we will notify the Local Authority’s housing benefit department of the change in your charges. They will make the adjustments to your entitlement and write to you to confirm this. If you receive your housing benefit directly instead, you will need to contact the Local Authority yourself to notify them of any changes in your charges.
If you receive the housing element as part of your Universal Credit claim, you must let the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) know of any change of circumstances that might affect your payments – this includes any changes to the amount of rent or service charges you pay.
To ensure that your housing costs are paid at the correct rate, you must update your UC online portal account with your new April rent and/or service charge details as soon as they take effect.
Please note - For customers charged on a weekly or fortnightly basis, the financial year 24/25 includes 53 Mondays.
Universal Credit is paid on a calendar monthly basis and is calculated by multiplying 52 weeks and dividing by 12 months. The DWP does not cater for the 53-week year which occurs every 5-6 years, this means for the 24/25 financial year Universal Credit claimants will have a shortfall to pay each month to cover the additional week.
When will the new charges start?
The new charges will apply from 1st April 2024.
If you pay your rent monthly, weekly or fortnightly, this will be effective as of Monday 1st April 2024.
Please note - Every 5-6 years there is a '53 week year' because the year contains 53 Mondays. The next 53 week year occurs in 2024/25. Therefore, customers who are charged on a weekly or fortnightly basis will need to ensure their payments reflect this additional week.'
If you pay by Direct Debit, Bromford will include this in the calculation of your payments.
Will I need to change my direct debit?
If you pay your rent by direct debit, we’ll amend your payments to accommodate the new amount and you will receive a letter in March to confirm the new payments.
How can I pay?
Can I set up a Direct Debit?
Direct debit is the easiest way to pay, please contact your income management advisor if you wish to set up a direct debit.
Other payment methods
Payments can also be made using a debit or credit card via your online customer portal account, or by telephone using the automated payment line on 0330 1234 034. You will need your account reference number to hand.
When are the non-collection weeks this year (where applicable)?
For customers with weekly charges normally applied over 48 weeks, the non-collection weeks will be:
- Week commencing 26th August 2024
- Week commencing 16th December 2024
- Week commencing 23rd December 2024
- Week commencing 31st March 2025
For customers with weekly charges normally applied over 50 weeks, the non-collection weeks will be:
- Week commencing 16th December 2024
- Week commencing 31st March 2025
For customers with fortnightly charges, the non-collection periods will be:
- 9th December 2024 to 22nd December 2024
- 31st March 2025 to 13th April 2025
Help and support with payments
It's really important to talk to us if you have concerns about your ability to pay your charges. Your Bromford income management advisor is there to support you and work with you to find an affordable solution. They can also assist you to claim benefits and to help you to maximise your income. You will find their contact details on the top of your letter.
You can find additional information about what to do if you find yourself struggling with money here. Money matters: The cost of living | Bromford