About your rent

Your rent is the amount charged for living in your property.

 In addition, you may be charged for additional services, for example:

  • service charge(s) covering any communal services (if applicable)
  • service charge(s) for heating and hot water provided by communal systems (if applicable)
  • Council Tax (some supported housing schemes only).

Both rents and service charges are reviewed annually. If your rent changes, you will receive one month’s notice before the new amount comes into effect. Each year a property’s target rent is calculated using a formula set down in regulations, which takes account of a property’s value, size, and location. The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 requires housing associations to reduce rents by 1% from 2015, for a four year period. Accommodation this reduction does not apply to includes:

  • Low cost home ownership or shared owners (where the formula in the lease will be applied);
  • Intermediate rent or Rent to Home Buy properties;
  • Sheltered or extra care homes: (the government is undertaking a review of these during 2016/17); and
  • Temporary accommodation.

Service charges

Service charges are calculated for the services your specific property receives and are charged alongside your rent (where applicable). Service charges are adjusted annually to reflect the costs of the services during the previous year plus inflation or contractor quotes for the works/services. 

Housing Benefit

If you are on a low income, whether you are working or not, you may be able to get some help from housing benefit.

By law, we must tell you if we change your rent (and service charges where applicable). If you receive housing benefit, we will tell the local authority about your new rent and service charges (where applicable). The local authority will recalculate your housing benefit and will let you know in writing what your new amount will be.

If you don’t get housing benefit, you may now be entitled to because your rent has increased. You can get an application form from your local authority. You should complete this, and send in your application form as soon as possible to make sure you receive all the money you are entitled to.

Universal Credit

If you are receiving, or are eligible to claim, Universal Credit, you may be able to get some help towards your housing costs (rent and service charges). To find out if you are eligible, please go to www.gov.uk/universal-credit.

Further information about Universal Credit can be found here.

Rent Change

Since April 2014, we now collect rent from all Westlea tenants over a 52 week period (previously 48). This includes all Westlea tenants in general needs and 55+ housing, but excludes garages and some supported accommodation, as well as commercial lets and mortgage rescue properties.

The annual rent level tenants pay is the same as it would have been if we were collecting the higher rent for 48 weeks. There are no changes to your rights as a tenant, which are set out in your tenancy agreement.

Example:

Rent - Annual charge                        £7,200 per year

Old 48 Week charge                          £150.00 per week

New 52 Week charge                       £138.46 per week

Struggling with rent payments?

You should ensure your rent and charges are paid in line with your tenancy agreement or lease. If you are having trouble doing this, please contact us straight away as we may be able to help offer you support.

Details of how you  can make a rent/service charge  payment here.

Below are the details of some agencies that may be able to help you with debt or benefit advice, but other services are available.

Money Advice Service
www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk 
0300 500 5000

Step Change
www.stepchange.org
0800 138 1111

National Debtline
0808 808 4000
www.nationaldebtline.org/
Citizens Advice
www.citizensadvice.org.uk

To check whether you are eligible for any other benefits, please visit the ‘Entitled to’ calculator here.