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Information About Your 2024 Rent Increase:

Information About Your 2024 Rent Increase:

We know that you want to know as much about your rent increase as possible. 

Here, we've gathered the information you'll need. 

We're Here to Help

We've got lots of information here on our website, including our free to use benefit entitlement calculator.

We're here to help. If you'd like our support, you can call 0300 304 500 or email info@estuary.co.uk. We have trained staff who can give advice on budgeting and benefits. We can also make affordable repayment arrangements if you're behind with rent. 

We're happy to meet at your home, talk over the phone or email, whatever works best for you.

If you need debt advice we can refer you to the Money & Pensions Service, as they have the expertise in this area.

We also have our One Estuary Fund, which may be able to help if you have a sudden emergency.

Rent Increase Video Transcript

Rent Increase Video Transcript

Start:

The standard screen background of a cream coloured background with Estuary logo in the top left corner and five polka style dots scattered around the screen.

Throughout, text appears on the screen as it is read.

0.00

Title Screen: The words Rent Increases Explained appear to the left with a pile of change and coins.

Voice Over:

Rent increases explained.

0.05

Screen moves on to standard screen:

Voice Over:
For our social rented homes, the rent standard allows us to increase the rent each year. This is based on the Consumer Price Index percentage at September 2023, plus 1%.

0.14

[Screen changes to show “CPI + 1%” and changes back to text to match speech]

0.16

Voice Over:
So, for 2024/25, the rent increase will be 7.7%

0.21

[Screen changes to show “7.7%” and changes back to text to match speech]

0.23

For leaseholders, any increase is done in line with the terms of your lease.

0.28

Voice Over:
If you pay a service charge, then this is based on our costs for providing these services, and are not capped in the same way as your rent.

However, we understand our customers may be struggling due to the costs of living. Because of this, we have continued with our promise not to increase the service charge by more than £180 per household.

0.43

[Screen changes to show £180 per household and changes back to text to match speech]

0.48

Title Screen: The words Rent Increases, when does it change? Appear to the left, with a small set of keys in front of a door and keylock to the right.

Voice Over:
So, when does it change?

0.52

Screen moves on to standard screen:

Voice Over:
For most residents the change happens annually in April each year.

0.56

Voice Over:
You should check your tenancy agreement, as for some the change may be less frequent or not occur in the first April following a new tenancy.

1.02

Voice Over:
If your rent or service charge is going to change, you will have received a letter from us in February or March advising what your new payment will be and why there’s been a change.

1.11

[Screen changes to show “Please read the letter carefully”, and moves back to match the speech]

Voice Over:
Please read the letter carefully,

1.13

Voice Over:
it will tell you what you need to do.

1.19

[Screen changes to show Keep the letter safe, and moves back to the standard screen]

Voice Over:
Keep the letter safe,

1.22

Voice Over:
it is important, and you may need to provide this as evidence of the change to your rent and service charge if you claim benefits.

1.29

Title Screen: The words Rent Increases, What Do I Need to Do? appear to the left, with a hand using a calculator next to a computer keyboard on the right.

Voice Over:
So, what do I need to do?

1.34

Screen moves on to standard screen:

Voice Over:
If you claim housing benefit you are responsible for telling your local Council of the change. You can do this as soon as you get the letter.

1.42

Voice Over:
Of course, there's always an exception!

If you live in the Maldon District Council area, they prefer we tell them.

1.49

Voice Over:
If you receive Universal Credit then it is your responsibility to update your journal with the new rent and service charge. But don’t do this until the day of the change or shortly after, as they will not accept it.

Please don’t forget as they may not backdate your benefit payments. Put this in your calendar as a reminder.

2.12

Voice Over:
We'll adjust your Direct Debit...

If you pay us using Direct Debit we’ll adjust this for you from April. This will include any agreement you have made to clear arrears.

2.26

Voice Over:
...but not any other form of payment.

We cannot change any other form of payment. So, if you pay by another method, you will have to make the changes yourself. With some ways of paying, this might take some time, so it’s best to do it as soon as you know. Some banks need 10 working days' notice.

2.42

Voice Over:
Other important things you can do to be ready for your rent change:

You can check our website, estuary.co.uk. This will provide you with lots of information and places to help.

2.54

Voice Over:
You can check our benefits calculator. Also on the website, this will help you check you're getting the benefits you're entitled to.

3.03

Voice Over:

You do not have to be in arrears to be struggling, so call or message us if you need to talk about your situation. Our teams are here to help.

3.15

Voice Over: Contact us.

You can call us on 0300 304 5000, check our socials or visit our website estuary.co.uk

[Screen changes to contact details, showing 0300 304 5000, estuary.co.uk, estuaryha on Facebook and estuary_ha on Twitter.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why has my rent increased?

For our social rented homes, your rent will be increased by 7.7% in line with the Government’s Rent Setting Policy.

If you are a leaseholder then your rent will increase in line with the terms of your lease.

As a not-for-profit housing association, the money we make is invested back into homes and services.

We need to increase rents to improve the homes we manage. This also supports our planned works which include fire safety works, replacement kitchens, bathrooms etc. and to invest in local communities.

Why am I paying a different amount to my neighbour?

This is a common query. Rents will vary from one property to another even though they may be in the same street. We have different tenancy types in one area, so your neighbour could have a market rent tenancy or be a shared owner.

There are also different rent types e.g. social rent or affordable rent. These rents are calculated differently.  Affordable rent is based on the market rental valuation at the time of letting.

Service charges can also make a difference to the total charge. 

How are Rents Calculated?

This depends on your tenancy and rent type, and if you pay a service charge.

Every few years, there is a 53 week year. As our rents are mainly charged weekly, this could affect you. Please check our 53 week year section for more on this. 

If you do not know which type of rent you have, or if you pay a service charge, you should check your tenancy agreement. The information below should help you more based on that. 

Shared Ownership

Your rent charge depends on what share of the property you initially purchased. The original annual rental value is calculated by subtracting the value of your share from the agreed sale value and multiplying that figure by 2.75%. This is divided by 12 to give the monthly rent.

Your lease explains how much your rent can increase each year. For 2024 your rent will increase in line with the terms of your lease.

 

Affordable Rent

When a home is let to a new tenant the rent is set at 80% of the market rental value for a similar property in the same area. The total will include any service charge.  Our policy is to not go over the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates when we initially set the affordable rent. This means the rent may be slightly lower than 80% of the market rental value.

When it comes to rent increases, affordable rent is calculated differently, but only if you also pay a service charge. 

If you don't pay a service charge your rent will increase by 7.7% from April 2024. 

Where you have affordable rent and pay a service charge, we must include both elements when calculating your new rent. So, this year we'll add 7.7% to the total of these two amounts. Once we have worked this out, we deduct what your service charge is going to be, and this gives us your new rent.

Where you pay a service charge this element can increase but it can also decrease. 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 increase notification this will give you a breakdown of your new rent and service charge if you have one.

London Affordable Rent

Some of our new homes in the London Borough of Havering are let as London Affordable Rent. The rent for these homes when they were first let was set in-line with what the Mayor of London had agreed. 

For future rent increases, these are treated in the same way as social rent. This means that from April 2024 your rent will increase by 7.7%. If you have a service charge, then this is added to your rent amount.

Where you pay a service charge this element can increase but it can also decrease. 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 increase notification this will give you a breakdown of your new rent and service charge if you have one.

Fair Rent

Your charges are reviewed each year. We apply to the Valuation Office to review and re-register your rent every two years. Every other year, your rent is reviewed against the existing Rent Register and the social (formula) rent.

For customers with social rental fair rent tenancies, if the current rent falls below both values, we can increase it up to a maximum of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1%. If you are due an increase for 2024, your rent will be increased by 7.7%.

If you also pay a service charge this may increase but it could decrease. 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 increase notification this will give you a breakdown of your new rent and service charge if you have one.

Social Rent

The Government sets what we are allowed to increase our rents by each year. This is calculated by using a rate of inflation called the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus a percentage. This year your rent will increase by 7.7%

Social rent (formerly ‘target rent’ but now also known as ‘formula rent’) is calculated separately from service and other charges. The calculation is based on a formula that takes into consideration:

  • an independent property valuation
  • the number of bedrooms in your home; and
  • the average household incomes in your local authority area.

We are required to use the formula as it is provided by the Regulator of Social Housing.

If you also pay a service charge this may increase but it could decrease. 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 increase notification this will give you a breakdown of your new rent and service charge if you have one.

Market Rent

We have a small number of homes which are let in the same way as private rentals. We review the rent each year and look at the private rents in your local area. If these have increased, then your rent will increase in-line with them.

If you live in a home where we also provide services in communal areas, then you will pay a service charge as well. A service charge may increase but it could decrease. 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 increase notification this will give you a breakdown of your new rent and service charge if you have one.

Do I need to do anything?

Housing Benefit

If your Housing Benefit is paid directly to us by your Council, we’ll inform them of any changes.  But you still need to let them know yourself. They may still want to see your rent review letter, so keep it safe. If you lose it, we can send you a copy if you contact us.      

Receive Universal Credit?

If you receive Universal Credit, you must tell the Department of Work and Pensions about any changes. You cannot do this until the date of the change or after. You must update your journal with this information. If you don’t, it may impact on the amount of Universal Credit you receive.

They may want to see your rent review letter, so keep it safe. If you lose it, we can send you a copy if you contact us.   

Pay by Direct Debit or Recurring Payment?

If you pay by Direct Debit or Recurring Payment, we’ll make the change for you.  You'll receive a letter from allpay with details of your new payment and the day on which it will be taken. We’ll be sure to give you at least one week’s notice.

If you have a rent arrears repayment agreement or a court order for arrears, we'll include this amount when changing your direct debit or recurring payment.

Pay by Standing Order?

You'll need to contact your bank to amend the amount of the standing order.  

Remember, you need to leave enough time for the bank to make the change.  So, make the change as soon as you receive your rent increase letter.  You also need to remember to include any additional amounts where you have agreed to pay extra rent due to arrears or a court order.

If you need help with calculating what you need to pay, then please contact us.

Pay by using allpay services?

If you pay rent by any of the allpay services, (i.e app, payment card, online) you'll need to adjust the payments you make.  You also need to remember to include any additional amounts where you have agreed to pay extra rent due to arrears or a court order.

If you need help with calculating what you need to pay, then please contact us.

Helpful information about your Service Charge increase:

A row of houses with pitched roofs and bay windows

Helpful information about your 2024 Service Charge increase:

What's the Service Charge for?

Service charges pay for the maintenance of communal areas around your home. This includes cleaning, grounds maintenance, lighting and electricity. The charges also cover the cost of maintenance and servicing of shared equipment in your block or estate, such as lifts, door entry systems, electronic gates, and fire equipment.

How is the Service Charge calculated?

We review the service charges for the coming year by looking at the previous year’s costs. We’ll consider increases in maintenance contracts, VAT and inflation.   There may also be an increased level of service required in some areas.

The new charges take effect from the 1st of April each year.  

The services you are charged for depends on where you live and what is defined in your lease or tenancy agreement. If you live in a block of flats and the services are available for all to use in that block; then the charges will be divided equally between the number of flats.

For shared owners and leaseholders who live in a block, your lease may advise the apportionment you pay of the service charge provision.  

Which services am I paying for?

We've provided a breakdown of the relevant charges in your notification letter, sent at the end of February 2024.  

What's the Management Charge for?

We levy a management charge which is calculated at 15% of the service charge items.   This goes towards the running of our business, staffing and office costs.

What is Replacement Provision?

This relates to Leaseholders and Shared Owners. In some leases there is a provision to collect a sinking fund or replacement provision for any major works that will be required in the future. 

Property Management Companies

On some of our estates, there is a Property Management Company in place who carry out all or some of the services. If you live in a home where these services are provided by another company, we will pass on the costs via the service charge. Some Property Management Companies operate a different financial year to Estuary, which means that their latest figures may not be available when we set your service charge.