Changes to your rent and other charges - Shared ownership 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. Every year we have to make carefully considered decisions relating to rent increases, the increases we apply to your rent are set out within the terms of your shared ownership lease. You will be charged rent for the percentage share of your home that is owned by Bromford.
How much is my rent increasing by?
We have calculated the rent increase in accordance with your shared ownership lease. Your lease will set out the mechanism for increasing your rent, which is usually based on the retail price index (RPI) for a month set out within your lease, there may also be an additional percentage applied on top.
A lease states the rent is to be increased by the preceding Sep RPI + 0.5%. The preceding September for an April 2024 increase would be September 2023. If RPI for September 2023 was 7.5% + 0.5% = the rent would be increased by 8.0%.
What does my rent pay for?
As a not-for-profit organisation, every single penny we receive is reinvested in services for customers, such as things like front-line services.
What other charges may I have to pay?
Service charges - A service charge is the amount payable in addition to the rent (if applicable) such as for the delivery of communal services, communal repairs & maintenance, estate grounds maintenance, buildings insurance, and the landlord’s cost of management.
For example, if you live on an estate, then the cost of maintaining any shared areas, such as shared green areas 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.
Ground rent – Some shared ownership customers are required to pay a ground rent charge such as those living in a flat where the freehold land is owned by Bromford. This is usually applied annually and you will issued with a ground rent notification. Ground rent charges are not increased each year.
Building insurance - If you are a shared owner of your property, we arrange the buildings insurance for your home on your behalf, and you will have to pay for this by way of a service charge.
We work with our insurance advisors and brokers each year to ensure you get the best value for building insurance. Bromford appointed a new insurance provider on 1st December 2023 and in the event of a building insurance claim made after this date, there is no excess to pay.
If you have any questions about this change, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, along with management services and you are required to contribute towards the cost of providing these services as per the terms and conditions of your lease.
What is included in my service charge?
The services covered under your service charge are set out in the service charge statement we send to you along with your annual rent review letter. They will also be set out within your lease.
How do we calculate your service charge?
Service charges for shared ownership customers are ‘variable’.
This means 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?
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
Customers can also 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.
When will the new charges start?
The new charges will apply from 1st April 2024.
Will I need to change my direct debit?
If you pay your charges 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 and a condition of most shared ownership leases, 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.
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