Changes to your rent and service charges
From April 2020 the amount of rent you pay will be changing.
It’s important that you know how our rents and other charges are worked out, so we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you understand.
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 1 April, you need to make sure you update your Universal Credit online journal as soon as this change occurs.
If you are experiencing problems paying your rent, please contact your income management officer.
Frequently asked questions about changes to your rent
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.
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.
When will the new charges start?
The new charges will change from 1st April.
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 by direct debit, we will adjust your payment automatically to the new amount including any agreements you have in place. However, if your total charge has gone down, you could use this opportunity to get ahead with your payments or to help clear any arrears you may have.
This will help you create a 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 and keep it at the higher amount and we will arrange this for you.
I would like to change my payment method
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 payment 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 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.
When are the non-collection weeks this year?
If you have an affordable or intermediate tenancy, rent is charged every week so non-collection weeks do not apply.
If your tenancy outlines that you have 4 non-collection weeks. These will be during following weeks:
24th August 2020
14th December 2020
21st December 2020
29th March 2021
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.
Why have the non-collection week changed?
We can decide when we will apply non-collection weeks (where applicable) as set out within your tenancy agreement. In July 2018 Merlin and Bromford went into partnership, this provided an opportunity to review how we applied charges across all customer accounts across the group, and to review and align the non-collection weeks. We wanted to ensure our non-collection weeks were consistent for all the Bromford customers they applied to, and that they would occur during times of the year that may be most beneficial to our customers. They have therefore been aligned with times of the year which are often deemed to be expensive for many families, in order to help ease pressures and support the management of their finances.
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 on 1st April 2020. If you pay rent, we will combine your rent and service charge so that you pay both at the same time.Contact us about your service charge query.