Our social housing rent charges are regulated by the Government. Between April 2016 and April 2019 our social housing rents will reduce by 1% each year.
Some exemptions to the 1% reduction apply, such as specialised supported accommodation and temporary accommodation, and for these, a very small number of Living+ /Cotman Supported & Sheltered customers will see an increase in their rent charge in April 2019.
Other exceptions include tenants living in some market rent schemes, mortgage rescue tenants, shared ownership leaseholders, student accommodation, registered nursing care and care homes, and temporary housing for homeless families.
The rent reduction on regulated social rented properties applies to the rent element of your charge only. The service charge element is set based on the charges we will incur providing those services for the following year.
Our affordable rents are set at 80% of the market rent. They are regulated by the Government and will reduce by 1% per year. If there are any chargeable services provided they are included within the overall rent.
The rent review applied to market rent properties and shared ownership properties will be determined by the relevant clause within your lease or tenancy agreement. This will say what increase we can apply to the charges.
We will write to you at least 28 days before any changes are made to your rent charges.
We change our assured/affordable tenancy rents in April each year.
You may have to pay a charge for other services depending on where you live. This may be for:
These charges are part of your total rent and - depending on your tenancy agreement - may be reviewed annually.
Service charges are affected by employment, overhead and general inflation rates. We don't make a profit on any of these service costs. All charges are based on our best estimate of costs for the coming year.
You will receive 4 weeks' notice in writing of any proposed increase to these charges.
You can view your rent balance, statements and service charges from your online account.
For general needs social housing, we aren’t - the rents that we charge for homes let on a social rent tenancy are set to decrease by 1% in April 2019.
Previously, we followed the Government’s restructured rents regime which aimed to bring all local authority and housing association rents to a common “target rent” for a particular area, and bedroom size, which meant that rent could fluctuate either up (an increase) or down (a decrease).
Although rent restructuring and rent convergence have ended the rent targets which resulted from that programme can still apply, in the sense that where an existing rent is under target, we can legitimately move it up to the correct target rent at the point when it becomes vacant.
The only rents that will increase are those for specialised supported accommodation, Temporary Support Accommodation, Exempt Accommodation and those for non-social housing.
For non-social housing the increases are determined as follows:
If you pay rent on a monthly basis then you will see your rent change from the 1 April. If you are charged weekly then you will see your rent change on the first Monday in April.
Secure tenancies have a rent review every two years on the anniversary of their tenancy and they are not part of the annual April rent review process.
Your tenancy or lease agreement will tell you what type of tenancy you have. It will also include the terms of the rent review that will be applied to your tenancy.
This is the our contribution towards the cost of your rent and service charges which has been agreed for the upcoming financial year.
Service charges are determined by what it costs us to provide the service. They can be affected by employment, overhead and general inflation rates. All charges are based on our best estimate of costs for the coming year.
The service charge covers your share of the cost of all the communal services delivered for your property and these are entirely dependent on the nature of the place where you live and the type of services provided. A few examples of what may be included are:
You can find out what your specific service charges are by logging in to your online account.
Annual charges are based on the usage taken from meter readings and allowing for inflation and renegotiated contract prices.
This will be an existing service previously not included in your service charge before, or a new service requested by your local housing team to improve your communal services, for example landscape improvements.
This will include at least one of the following:
This is to cover management and on costs such as staff time, systems and offices in order to deliver the services provided. This is calculated at 15% of the total service charge.
Rent is our main source of income and it helps pay for maintenance, responsive repairs and future planned maintenance. Generating income from rent enables us to continue offering a range of housing, care and support.
The total rent charge you pay will depend on the type of property and tenancy that you have. We have different property and tenancy types within areas and this will result in differences in rent charges where the properties and tenancy types are not identical. Your rent will be compliant with the terms on which the property was let to you and with the terms of your tenancy or government regulation, depending on which applies.
For your safety we have undertaken a review of tests and checks of fire safety equipment in our blocks of flats. This has resulted in an increase in the frequency of testing of equipment in some blocks and additional resources are required to provide a service of consistent quality and regularity.
This is usually due to you having a secure tenancy agreement. This will apply if you started renting a property with us prior to January 1989 and have had a tenancy with us since (although this may not be in the same property) or you have exchanged into a property where the previous customer had a secure tenancy. The secure rents are reviewed every two years on the anniversary of your tenancy commencing.
If you do not have a secure tenancy agreement and have not received a notification of the changes to your charges under the rent review then you can raise a query at any time for free through our online services.
For your safety we have undertaken a review of tests and checks of safety equipment located in our blocks of flats and on our estates. At some of our estates this has resulted in an increase in the frequency of visual checks and operational tests of equipment, including communal water outlets (taps and showers), fire safety equipment (alarms and emergency lighting), play areas and lift emergency autodiallers. This means that additional resources are required to provide a service of consistent quality and regularity.
Fly-tipping of rubbish causes harm to the environment and is a public health and safety issue. We have experienced an increase in fly-tipping and the resultant costs of removing this from our estates and within our blocks of flats. Local authorities will not normally remove this free of charge so this service is not covered by your Council Tax payments. We will continue to work with our local authority partners to tackle this issue and aim to identify perpetrators where possible so if you have any information regarding fly-tipping incidents please contact us.
We have a legal responsibility to ensure that our estates are safe for you, your family and visitors and will be surveying the condition of trees located in our communal areas to ensure they are healthy and structurally sound. This will enable us to plan and prioritise any remedial action required, ensuring that trees are safe and that they continue to enhance the attractiveness of our estates and resident’s quality of life.
The following services are specific to Home Owners
We do not charge ‘bedroom tax’. For our regulated social rented properties and affordable homes, the rent charge is mainly based on the size of the property and its value irrespective of how many people live there.
The ‘bedroom tax’ is the reduction in subsidy (Housing Benefit or rent element) that the Government says you are entitled to based, usually, on your income and the composition of your household.