Rent increase: Frequently Asked Questions

Southway's affordable and social rents are increasing in April 2022. Here is everything you need to know about the increase.

View as a guide here: Understanding Your Rent Review

  • Why are rents increasing?

    The Tenancy Agreement between yourself and Southway says that every year, we will review all Southway rents.

    The Tenancy Agreement between yourself and Southway says that every year, we will review all Southway rents. In September 2019, the government introduced a new five-year policy which allowed housing associations to increase rents in line with inflation for 5 years. This meant that from April 2020 most social housing rents, including Southway’s, increased. In April 2022 your rent increases again.

  • By how much are rents increasing and how is this calculated?

    In April 2022 rents will increase by 4.1%.

     

  • How is this calculated?

    As outlined in the government policy, rent increases are made up of a ‘cost of living’ increase, which is set using inflation from the Consumer Price Index (CPI), plus an additional 1%.

    What is CPI?

    The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a figure used to measure inflation. The previous September’s CPI is always used to calculate rent increases. In September 2020, CPI was 0.5%. Therefore your rent increase is 1.5% (0.5% + 1%).

  • When do I pay?

    You will need to start paying the new rent stated in this letter from April 2021. The new rent charge is in place from 5th April, but this is a rent free week for anyone not in arrears*. So:

    If you are not in arrears

    You pay your new rent from 11th April

    If you are in arrears

    You pay your new rent, plus an amount towards your arrears, from 4th April

     

    *If you live in Tameside or Cheshire East, you pay the new rent from 4th April whether or not you have arrears. This is because your rent is charged evenly over 52 weeks, and so you do not have rent free weeks.

  • How do I pay?

    If you pay by Direct Debit and/or Housing Benefit

    These will be adjusted automatically to the new amount so you don’t need to do anything.

    If you pay by Standing Order

    You will need to report this change to your bank. To change or arrange your standing order your bank will need your tenancy reference, and Southway’s sort code: 20-55-34 and account number: 60713104.

    If you pay by Universal Credit

    You need to pay the new rent, and report your rent increase to the DWP through your online UC account on 4th April or as soon as possible afterwards – no later than the end of your monthly assessment period (MAP). If you get your Universal Credit paid direct to Southway, you still need to report the increase. We have enclosed a guide to show you how to do this. If you don’t report the change, the DWP will not increase the housing cost element of your UC.

    If you pay online, by phone or text, by post or at a pay point

    Adjust what you pay to the amount stated in your letter.

  • How else can I pay rent?

    There are many easy ways to pay your rent - you can see them all here.

    If you would like help changing the way you pay, get in touch.

  • What happens if I can’t pay?

    Paying your rent is a priority and your responsibility. However, we know that the coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected many people’s finances and if this means you are struggling to pay rent, please get in touch straight away. If you tell us, we can help.

    Our priority is always to help you to maintain your tenancy and not fall into rent arrears. We have supportive and dedicated Income and Advice Teams, who are here to help you manage your finances and maximise your benefits.

    Missing rent payments could mean you risk losing your home and can lead to other problems, like being unable to transfer or mutually exchange. So it is always best to let us know as soon as you know you will struggle to pay so that we can help.

     

  • Getting our help with your money

    We have services to support you with:

    • Rent arrears
    • Managing debt
    • Applying for benefits you are entitled to
    • Reducing your bills (including fuel bills) and one off costs
    • Accessing Food Clubs and foodbanks
    • Budgeting
    • Banking
    • Getting into work and training
    • Accessing affordable loans

    There is more detail here.

    Please contact us if you would like to know more about getting support.

  • How do I apply for Universal Credit?

    You will apply and manage any future claims through an online portal so it’s important you are prepared. You need to:

    1. Have Internet access

    • You need to access your UC account daily to meet UC claimant commitment

    2. Have a mobile phone

    • You need to be able to text to receive UC updates

    3. Set up a bank account

    • You need a bank account to receive your UC payment

    4. Have an email address For three reasons:

    • To make your claim
    • To check your payments
    • To receive UC updates

    5. Prove who you are

    • You’ll need proof of your identity
      • Driving licence
      • Passport etc.

    6. Provide proof of income

    • If you’re working, you’ll need copies of your payslips

    Learn more about how to make a UC claim here.

    Learn more about Universal Credit here.

  • I need support with Universal Credit

    At Southway we have a dedicated Universal Credit Officer, who can advise you on:

    • Making a claim
    • Minimising errors to prevent delays
    • Managing until your first payment
    • Managing through a crisis
    • English language classes
    • Digital training & access opportunities
    • Foodbanks & Food Clubs

    If you'd like help with any of these, contact us or call 0161 448 4263.

  • Where does my rent go?

    As a not for profit organisation we always put this money back into providing you with better services, homes and help for you and your community.Home improvements
    programme

    We will continue to improve homes each year with programmes to:
    • Replace and upgrade kitchens to meet Decent Homes Standard
    • Renew heating systems withmore energy efficient alternatives, helping you save money and helping the environment
    • Invest in measures to increase the energy performance of our homes

    Community and Support services
    Needed more now than ever; we help reduce poverty and support people experiencing it, spending over
    £1 million per year on services including:
    • Offering free financial advice and support
    • Helping tenants and their families into work
    • Running projects that address food poverty and fuel poverty
    • Supporting people with complex needs and circumstances
    • Investing in community hubs and projects to help more than we could do alone

    Building affordable homes
    As well as maintaining our current homes, we have a duty to build more to address the national housing
    crisis, helping people who are on the waiting list or homeless. Between 2020 and 2025 we will build:
    • 380 homes for social and affordable rent
    • 295 shared ownership homes
    • 165 homes of other types

    We always welcome your views and want you involved in how we can best spend this income. If you would like to have your say, please contact our Customer Involvement Team via the Hub – we take your views and opinions very seriously and they are always used to shape our essential services and spend. You can see all the ways you can get involved at www.southwayhousing.co.uk/about-us/get-involved

     

  • How does this affect Service Charges?

    Some tenants pay charges for extra services, particularly in blocks of flats, estates or sheltered housing schemes.
    If you do pay a service charge, your rent letter will let you know your service charges for 2022 and whether there is an increase. Service charges can increase based on inflation (for fixed service charges), or changes in contracts or service need.

  • What is an eligible service charge?

    Eligible service charges are the communal services you receive, like cleaning, lifts and grounds maintenance. They are ‘eligible’ charges because they can be included in a claim for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs.

  • What is an ineligible service charge?

    Ineligible service charges, sometimes known as Personal charges, include things like your individual water, heating, gas or electricity charges, which are provided to you personally and paid for by you. The services will vary depending on where you live. They are ‘ineligible’ because they cannot be included in a claim for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs.