Southway's rents are changing in April 2020. Here is everything you need to know about the increase:
Why are rents increasing?
Over the last four years Southway has reduced rents by 1% every year, following government legislation.
From April this year, the government has said housing associations can increase rents in line with its new rent standard. This allows for a ‘cost of living’ increase, which is 1.7%, plus an additional 1%. Rent increases will happen right across the social housing sector as landlords raise rents in line with this new government standard.
After careful consideration and consultation with our Board, Southway will be applying this 2.7% rent increase in April 2020.
By how much are rents increasing and how is this calculated?
Rents will increase by 2.7%, in line with the government rent standard.
This is made up of a 'cost of living' increase, set using inflation from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is 1.7%, plus an additional 1%.
We will write to you at the end of February to confirm your exact rent increase.
What will this increase look like?
At the end of February we write to you to confirm exactly what your new rent will be. Here are two examples of a 2.7% increase, using typical Social and Affordable Rents:
Social rent (weekly) Affordable rent (weekly) Current rent £95.07 £115.06 Rent in 2020/21 £97.64 £118.17 Increase + £2.57 + £3.11
How has Southway come to this decision?
Over the last four years when rents reduced, Southway had to reduce many of its services and limit the amount of investment we carried out, which could not continue.
Even after applying an increase, our rents will still be competitive and they will be lower in April 2020 than they were in 2015.
The increase therefore means we can keep rents affordable for our tenants, while being able to meet the increasing costs of maintaining homes, neighbourhoods and the environment, and delivering services and new homes.
What does rent pay for?
Your rent provides the funding for us to maintain homes and neighbourhoods and deliver essential services, and the increase will mean that we can invest more into these areas and into our communities.
This year we plan to spend £7m on repairs and home improvements, and more than £40m investing in new properties.
We will be able to maintain our existing service standards in all areas and invest in areas that tenants have told us are priorities, like the ASB service.
We will also spend over £1m on community projects, advice and support, as we place huge importance on being able to provide these added-value activities.
What will you spend the additional rent on?
We will set out in our April Futures Strategy what we aim to achieve over the next 5 years.
This year we will collect £27m in rental payments and borrow additional funds, which will support our work on homes, neighbourhoods, the environment and services, and the continued development of much-needed affordable homes in South Manchester.
What if I can’t afford the increase?
If you’re worried about the rent increase and would like some advice, please contact us. 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.
To access this support, you can:
- Contact us through the website
- Text us on 07554 400781 – no more than 160 characters, including the first line of your address and your postcode.
- Contact the Customer Hub on 0161 448 4200 (textphone 0161 448 4349 for the hearing impaired)
- Email email@example.com
There is more information and advice here.
What do I need to do?
Your February rent letter will let you know your individual rent increase and you will need to start paying the rent stated in this letter from April 2020.
The new charge is in place from 6th April, but this is a rent free week. So unless you are in arrears, you will need to pay the new amount from 13th April. If you are in arrears, you will pay your new rent plus an amount towards your arrears from 6th April.
Remember to keep hold of your February rent letter so that you have all the details you need in April.
How do I pay the new rent if...
I pay by Direct Debit and / or receive Housing Benefit
You don't need to do anything - these will be adjusted automatically to the new amount.
I pay by standing order
You will need to adjust your payment through your bank. Southway's standing order details are here.
I receive Universal Credit
You will need to pay the new amount, and report your rent increase to the DWP through your online UC account on 6th April or as soon as possible after – no later than the end of your monthly assessment period. Even if you have your Universal Credit paid directly to Southway, you still need to report the increase.
It is not guaranteed that Universal Credit will cover all of your rent increase.
- I pay by Direct Debit and / or receive Housing Benefit
What is the timescale for the rent increase?
The rent letters informing you of the rent increase will be sent out to you with Southway Stories at the end of February.
Rent increases will then apply from 6th April 2020.
Because 6th April is a rent free week, unless you are in arrears, you will need to pay the new amount from 13th April.
If you are in arrears, you will pay your new rent plus an amount towards your arrears from 6th April.
How does this affect Service Charges?
Most Service Charges will not be affected by the April 2020 rent increase.
If you do pay a service charge, check your February rent letter when it arrives, which will let you know if your service charges do change.
What is an eligible service charge?
Eligible service charges are charges that can be included in your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs claim. They are the communal services you receive, such as cleaning, lifts and grounds maintenance.
What is an ineligible service charge?
Ineligible service charges are charges that cannot be included in your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs claim.
They may include your individual water, heating, gas or electricity charges, which are paid for by you. The services will vary depending on where you live.
- What is an eligible service charge?