How Are Rents Calculated?

The formula for calculating Housing Association rents is set by the Government. They tell us the maximum we can charge. If you are interested in reading more about this, you can view the Government Policy Statement document for April 2020. This remains relevant for 2022.

Most Housing Associations use the September Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate plus the percentage allowed by the Government. For 2022-23 it is 1%. By combining the CPI and annual allowable increase allowed, we get the overall percentage increase.

For 2022-23 the September 2021 CPI figure is 3.1%. This plus 1% means most will have a 4.1% increase in your rent.

What Happens In April 2022?

The Government has told us we can increase rents by a maximum of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1%. Our Board decided that to keep the business running and meet residents’ priorities, we will increase by the maximum, which is 4.1% (September 2021 CPI 3.1% plus 1%). Most will therefore have a 4.1% increase in rent.

However, the rent type you have determines what the overall change will be. If you have an affordable rent, a social rent or a fair rent then please see the relevant section below under 'How Has My Rent Changed?'

If you do not know what rent type you have, you can check your tenancy or your rent statement on My Estuary. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on 0300 304 5000 where we will be happy to help you.

How Did My Rent Change?

How Did My Rent Change?

How Are Our Rents Calculated?

Here we will explain how rents are calculated for our social housing rented homes.

If You Have An Affordable Rent

If you have an affordable rent and pay a service charge, there is a different calculation. If you do not pay a service charge, your rent will increase by 4.1%. However, there are some exceptions to this, for example if a new tenancy was granted within the last 52 weeks.

Where you have an affordable rent and pay a service charge, we must include both elements when calculating your new rent. In other words, we must add the rent and service charge elements and treat this as one amount. Then we multiply this by the increase (4.1% for 2022-23). Once we have worked this out, we deduct the cost of your service charge, and this gives us your new rent.

For instance, if you have a rent of £150 per week and a service charge of £20 per week, the sum would be £150 + £20 = £170,

£170 + 4.1% = £176.97

£176.97 - £20 = new rent of £156.97.

Where you pay a service charge, this element can either increase or decrease. Each year we estimate the cost of the services and this figure is set for the whole year, despite how much we spend. This is called a fixed service charge.   

When you received your personalised rent review notification, it gives you a breakdown of your new rent and service charge, if you have one.

If You Have A Social Rent

Tenancies with a social rent will increase by 4.1% from April 2022. There are some exceptions to this, such as where a new tenancy was granted within the last 52 weeks.

If you also pay a service charge, this could either increase or decrease. Each year we estimate the cost of the services and this figure is set for the whole year, despite how much we spend. This is called a fixed service charge

As an example, if you have a rent of £150 per week and no service charge, your rent will increase to £156.15 per week. However, if you also pay a service charge, this may increase or decrease. However, this is not included in the 4.1% increase and is calculated separately. This is explained in the example below.

  • Rent: £150 + 4.1% = new rent £156.15 per week
  • Service charge: £23.50 increased to £24.75 per week

Total to pay: £156.15 + £24.75 =  £180.90 per week

When you receive your personalised rent review notification, it gives you a breakdown of your new rent and, if you have one, your service charge.

If You Have A Fair Rent

If you have a fair rent, your rent only changes once every two years. If you are due a change in April 2022, your rent will increase.

Where there have been no major changes to the property, your rent is subject to the Maximum Fair Rent legislation.

The Maximum Fair Rent calculation is based on the existing registered rent multiplied by a figure. This figure is based on the change to the Retail Price Index from the last registration to the current registration plus 5%. Then it is rounded up to the next 50 pence.

If you also pay a service charge, this may have either increased or decreased. Each year we estimate the cost of the services and this figure is set for the whole year, despite what we spend. This is called a fixed service charge.

When you receive your personalised rent review notification, it gives you a breakdown of your new rent and, if you have one, your service charge.

Any Questions?

Any Questions?

Frequently Asked Questions - Part 1

I Pay My Rent By Direct Debit (Or Recurring Payment). Do I Need To Alter My Payments?

No, we will make any necessary changes. We will also include any agreement or court order you must pay to clear arrears.

 

I Pay By Standing Order. Do I Need To Do Anything?

Yes, you will need to inform your bank to change your payments in line with your revised rent and/or service charge. If you have an agreement or court order to clear arrears, you need to change payments to include the extra amount.

If you are unsure what the payment should be, please contact us by email info@estuary.co.uk or telephone 0300 304 5000.

 

I Receive Housing Benefit Or Universal Credit To Assist With My Housing Costs. Do I Need To Let Them Know Of The Change?

Yes. Even if your rent and service charge is fully covered by Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit, it is your responsibility to inform the appropriate department. 

  • Housing Benefit - you need to inform your local Council Housing Benefit Department. However, if you live in the Maldon District Council area, they prefer that we tell them.
  • Universal Credit – the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) need you to tell them about the change. You must update your online journal. You must do this on or soon after the date of the change. Please do not update your journal before the change.

You may need to supply a copy of the rent/service charge review letter, so please keep this in a safe place.

Any delay in you advising the Council or DWP of the change will affect the amount of benefit you receive.  This could put your rent account in arrears.

 

Are All The Costs Within My Service Charge Eligible Charges For Housing Benefit And Universal Credit?

If you live in one of our General Needs homes, then yes. There is one exception to this; Cascades. Individual water rates are charged as part of the service charge, which is not eligible.

If you are a leaseholder, then other items such as replacement provision will not be eligible.

Any non-eligible service charge costs will have to be paid by you.

 

I Do Not Use The Communal Areas. Why Should I Pay A Service Charge?

All residents are required to contribute to the operational costs of the communal areas. This is set out in your tenancy or lease agreement. The costs cover a wide range of services such as external and internal lighting, fire safety, grounds maintenance and repairs. These services are essential for providing a safe and clean environment for our residents.

 

Why Has My Service Charge Changed?

Your service charge is calculated annually to cover the actual costs incurred by us in providing services for you. These services include:

  • Communal Repairs
  • Mechanical & Electrical Services (i.e. lift, pumping station maintenance)
  • Health & Safety (i.e. fire risk assessments, legionella testing)
  • Removal of bulk waste (fly tipping)
  • Gardening
  • Cleaning.

The service charge is either increased or decreased based on an average of the spend in previous years or actual costs we know in advance.

 

I own my home. Why am I being asked to pay a Service Charge?

As part of your lease agreement or covenants of sale, it will state whether Estate Charges are due. These will be costs incurred by us for managing the estate, such as grounds maintenance and street lighting. These costs are known as estate charges, but are listed as service charges on the statement.

 

What is the difference between grounds maintenance and communal area maintenance?

Grounds maintenance generally covers gardening, whereas communal area maintenance may include repairs to communal areas, lighting and future replacements.

Frequently Asked Questions - Part 2

Why Do I Pay For Health and Safety?

This charge will relate to any work we are required to do legally to ensure health and safety within a development is maintained. This includes testing any communal water outlets (legionella), fire risk assessments and asbestos checks.

 

What Is The Management Charge?

Where we own and manage the building, we generally add a charge of 15% to the overall service charge elements for the administration of the service charges. 

If the services are provided by a Property Management Company, this charge will be listed separately and we may charge less than 15%.

 

I Am Not Happy With The Service I Receive. Do I Have To Pay My Service Charge?

Yes. Payment of the service charge is contractual and must be paid to avoid falling into arrears. However, if you are dissatisfied with a specific area of service, please contact us and we will investigate your concerns.

 

Why Is There A Service Charge Subsidy On The Service Charge Schedule?

We are continuing our review of how we apportion service charge costs. We found we were under-collecting and this was corrected in 2019/20. To lessen the impact of this, in some cases a subsidy has been applied, so the increase is not as considerable. The increase will be gradual, and any difference covered by us.

 

Why Is There A Charge For A Bulk Refuse Service?

This refers to any bin/container hire and any additional refuse clearances.

  • We do not provide a clearance service. However, we do have a lot of items dumped in communal areas. Due to health and safety, we remove them. This cost is passed on via your service charge.
  • All residents must make their own arrangements to dispose of any furniture, kitchen appliances, household items or materials etc. You should contact the Council who provide your normal rubbish collection, they should be able to assist you.

Do not place these items in communal areas while you are waiting for their collection. On some of our estates, we provide communal refuse bins. However, these are just for general household waste and recycling only.

Any household identified as a fly tipper, or of disposing of household waste/items incorrectly will be charged to cover our disposal costs, and may have legal action taken for breach of tenancy or lease.

 

I Am Being Charged For Window Cleaning, But They Do Not Clean My windows. Why Have I Been Charged?

Residents are generally responsible for cleaning windows in their home. Where there is a charge for window cleaning, it is usually just for communal windows.

 

How Can I Help To Keep Service Charge Costs Down?

Help us to reduce vandalism by reporting any acts of vandalism in communal areas immediately. If we can identify those responsible, they will be charged directly for the damage caused.

  • Fly Tipping – We have budgeted £180,000 for 2022/23 for the removal of items left illegally on our land. These costs are part of your service charge and will continue to rise if items are not disposed of responsibly. If you witness fly tipping, please make a note of any vehicle details, or if you know the person, please pass the information onto us. This way, we can take appropriate action and charge the cost back to them.

If your property is serviced by a pumping station, please do not flush anything other than toilet tissue as it will block the pump.  The average cost to repair a blockage is £350.