From April 2023, the amount of rent you pay will increase.
You'll find answers to lots of frequently asked questions and information about what this means for you below.
If you can't find the answers you need, please get in touch.
- What is the rent increase for 2023-24?
The rent increase for our shared owners for 2023/24 is 7%.
The government have capped social housing rent increases for 2023/24 at 7% and we have chosen to apply this to shared owners too.
Shared ownership annual rent increases are normally driven by the Retail Price Index (RPI). However, this would have meant an increase of more than 12% this year.
What is RPI?
The Retail Price Index (RPI) is a measurement of inflation used to calculate cost of living by tracking the changes in the cost of a fixed basket of goods over time.
- When will the new charges start?
When will I find out what my new rent and service charges will be?
You will receive a letter from us by the end of February, which will confirm what your new rent and service charges (if applicable) are.
If you have not heard from us by 1 March 2023, please call us on 0300 1234 009 or email email@example.com
When will the new charges start?
Your rent and service charge increase will apply from 1 April 2023.
- How is my rent spent?
As a profit-for-purpose association, we invest every penny we collect from your rent into providing good quality homes and services.
This year’s increase will allow us to continue delivering our services and ensure we meet our commitments to invest in more homes for the future.
The rent is the amount you pay on the share of your home that remains in the association's ownership.
For example, if you have bought a 60% share, you would pay rent on the remaining 40%. The amount you pay will increase each year, in accordance with your lease.
What do I need to do?
- I pay by direct debit - do I need to do anything?
If you pay by direct debit we'll alter this for you and you'll receive notification directly from allpay. Please check the details contained in the allpay notification are correct.
- I pay by standing order - do I need to do anything?
You'll need to contact your bank immediately to vary your payments.
- I receive Universal Credit - what do I need to do?
If you’re receiving Universal Credit you must let the Department for Work and Pensions know about this change in rent – to ensure you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to.
To do this, update your online journal with the new total amount (rent and service charge). You may also receive a ‘To do’ notification in your journal to remind you.
- I receive Housing Benefit - what do I need to do?
If you receive Housing Benefit you must notify the Housing Benefit department of your local council about your rent and service charge increase immediately.
Did you know you can have your housing benefit paid directly to us?
If you do not receive the full amount to cover all your rent, you'll need to make up the difference by an alternative payment method.
- When should I pay my rent?
Your rent and service charge (if applicable) should be paid by the 1st of each month in advance.
If you don't do this, your account will be in debt and you will receive arrears letters requesting payment in advance.
- What is a service charge?
A service charge is an amount payable in addition to the rent. This is to cover the costs of services and repairs in shared (communal) areas.
The exact services you pay for will be set out in your tenancy agreement or lease, but might include:
These are to pay for the administration and management of our service contracts, paying contractors and other bills, and calculating and administering the charges.
Cleaning – shared areas
This covers contractor cleaning fees for internal and external communal areas, including window cleaning.
Communal electricity and communal lighting
This covers the cost of providing electricity in communal areas on your scheme. This may include external lighting in carparks, street lighting (that is not maintained by the local authority) and electricity for sewage pumps. This also includes the costs of maintaining the internal and external lighting of communal areas.
Gardening and grounds maintenance
This is for the gardening and maintenance of communal outside spaces within your scheme. This includes grass cutting, flower bed maintenance, maintaining any green spaces (which are not maintained by the local authority), hedge maintenance and weeding.
Management company charges
This is to cover costs where the maintenance and upkeep of the communal areas are managed and administered by a private company on behalf of the landlord.
These charges are to pay for major repairs to communal car parking areas, private roads, pathways and replacing capital items such as door entry systems. This fund also covers items outside of an annual gardening contract such as major tree works.
Sewage pump and tank maintenance (or Water treatment and cleaning)
This covers the servicing and maintenance of sewage pump stations for waste water, if a property isn’t linked to the public sewer system.
Servicing and repairing door-entry systems
The cost of servicing, repairing and replacing door entry systems including keys, entry phones, key cards and automatic doors.
Servicing and repairing communal TV aerials
This covers the cost of servicing and repairing communal aerial systems.
SC Abatement Affordables
This will only appear on service charge schedules for customers paying affordable rent (which is different to social rent). This is the total weekly amount of your service charges that are included in your affordable rent.
- How is the service charge calculated?
The charge is calculated using the previous year’s actual costs, any known or estimated changes in costs for the current year, plus an adjustment for inflation.
This gives us an overall cost for the scheme, which is divided equally between the customers who receive the services. So, you will only pay for your share of the services you receive.
You'll receive details of your annual service breakdown with your annual rent letter.
- What are ‘Service charges – summary of rights and obligations'?
When we send you a request for service charge payment or your charge has been varied, we have to enclose a summary that sets out your rights and obligations. You can read the ‘Service charges – summary of rights and obligations' online
- What if I don’t agree with the service charge?
If you don’t agree with the service charge, please talk to us first and we’ll try to find a way forward.
If we are unable to reach an agreement, we would recommend you seek independent advice such as Citizens Advice.
If you think you're being charged unfairly, you may be able to apply to the First-Tier Tribunal to determine whether you are liable to pay service charges. Take a look at the ‘Service charges - summary of rights and obligation’ document for further information.
- Consulting you on major work - Section 20
There may be occasions when we need to carry out major works on apartment blocks or on communal areas on an estate, which leaseholders (including shared owners) may be required to pay towards.
Section 20 consultation
Under Section 20 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, we're required to consult with leaseholders if the works will cost any one leaseholder more than £250, or for any new service (for example ground maintenance) that lasts longer than 12 months and will cost any one leaseholder over £100.
Find out more about the Section 20 consultation process.
- How do I pay my rent?
We offer several ways to pay your rent.
Take a look at our how to pay your rent page.
- How can I view my rent account?
You can view your rent account online and update your personal information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on our customer portal, MyHomeOnline.
If you haven't already, you can register on MyHomeOnline now.
Once your details have been verified, we'll email you your registration code so you can login and view your account.
- What if I'm struggling to pay my rent and service charge?
We're here to help
Whether you’re in employment or in receipt of benefit payments, money issues can affect anyone and if you're having difficulties paying your rent, we’re here to help.
We understand it's a stressful situation, and the longer you leave it the worse the situation will get. We can help you with benefits and discuss how to manage your payments. We can also tell you about agencies who offer free and independent money advice to help you manage your debt.
What happens if I fall behind on my rent payments?
We'll do all we can to help and support you manage your rent payments. Find out more about what happens if you think you will fall behind.
If you're not claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefits
You may be entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to help pay your rent if you're on a low income or claiming welfare benefits. The amount you receive will depend on your income, savings and family circumstances.
We can offer assistance to complete forms and refer you to the relevant agencies and/or advice centres. However, the responsibility to apply for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, and to make sure it's being paid, is yours, even when the benefit is being paid direct to us.
Where else can I find help?
Take a look at our financial support webpages for further information and advice.
There are also lots of free services available online and in your community. You’ll find lots of links on our support pages to a range of support agencies, tools and information to help you manage your money and make sure you’re receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to.
- Cost of living support guide 2023
Our Cost of living guide 2023 provides details on local and national support schemes and benefits.
- Get in touch