Rent charges FAQ
From April 2020 the amount of rent you pay will be changing.
It’s important that you know how your rents and other charges are worked out, so we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions below to help you understand.
My rent is increasing, why is this?
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 2019 CPI was 1.7%, add to this the 1% set out in the Government policy and this creates the new figure of 2.7% which is to be applied to the vast majority of Bromford rents in April 2020.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes. A small number of properties are not covered by this policy such as market rented properties, shared ownership or commercial rents for example. 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, these will also be increased by 2.7%.
Bromford’s own full Rent and Service charge setting policy is available upon request.
Are you claiming Universal Credit?
If so, you must let the DWP know of any change of circumstances that might affect your payment – this includes any changes to the amount of rent you pay.
You should have received a letter recently detailing changes to your rent from April. To ensure that your housing costs are paid at the correct rate, you must update your online journal with your new April rent details.
As any changes to your rent will become effective on 1st April 2020 for customers charged monthly and 6th April 2020 for customers charged weekly, you need to make sure you update your Universal Credit online journal as soon as this change takes effect.
What does my rent pay for?
Last year we spent £71 million on repairing and maintaining our homes including improvement works 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.
How we spent each £1 we received in 2017-18
Learn more about what your rent pays for here.
When will the new charges start?
The new charges will change from April 2020.
If you pay your rent monthly this will be effective as of Wednesday 1st April and if you pay your rent weekly this will be effective as of Monday 6th April.
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 shortly to confirm the new payments.
I want to pay a bit extra and create a buffer on my account
If you pay by direct debit, we will adjust your payment automatically to the new amount including any agreements you have in place.
If you’d like to get ahead with your payments or clear any arrears you may have, you can increase the amount you pay my direct debit or pay online.
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 know if you'd like to change your direct debit to a higher amount and we will arrange this for you.
This short video explains why it's good to pay a little more and have a buffer in your rent:
I would like to change my payment method
You can pay your rent easily by direct debit, online or by phone.
What will happen to my benefits if my rent changes?
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 then you will need to notify Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) via your Universal Credit online journal as soon as this change occurs.
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 on 0345 600 0723 about the new rent and eligible service charge.
What if I don't agree with my new rent charge?
In the first instance, please talk to your neighbourhood coach. 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.
What if I am struggling to pay my 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, in the first instance, please contact your neighbourhood coach.
Your neighbourhood coach will discuss your finances with you. They'll 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 also 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. We will also make sure you’re getting the right benefits and help you with money and debt advice.
Frequently asked questions about service charges
What is a service charge?
A service charge is the amount payable in addition to the rent 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.
Why do I have to pay for service charge?
If you receive a service charge it is because your tenancy agreement or lease makes it an obligation for us to provide certain services to where you live, and for you to contribute to the cost of provision of those services by way of service charge payment.
Your service charge can change each year based on what it costs us to provide the services which may increase or decrease each year.
Either way, we do not profit from the service charge you pay; we only charge you what it costs us to provide the services.
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 sent to you along with your rent review letter. The services listed in your service charge statement are relevant to you and your property.
When will I start paying the service charge?
The service charge payment period starts in April 2020. If you pay rent, we will combine your rent and service charge so that you pay both at the same time.
- What if I don’t agree with my service charge?
If you have any questions that we have not answered here, please do not hesitate to contact us.