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Frequently asked questions: rent increases

Why is rent going up and what does it mean to you as a Connect resident?

Social housing rents usually increase each year based on a formula set by the Government.

In line with that formula, we are putting rents up by 4.1% in April 2022.

Connect’s Senior Manager of Income Services, Ilyas Lunat, has set out this FAQ to help you understand the facts behind this year’s rent increase.

Ilyas Lunat – Senior Manager of Income Services

Why are you increasing my rent?  

Your rent and service charges are reviewed annually. To make sure the rents we set are fair, the Government gives all social landlords like us a rent setting formula which is linked to inflation. 

The Government’s formula states that we can increase rent rates by the September Consumer Price Index (CPI), plus 1%.   

The CPI figure as of September 2021 was 3.1%. This means we can increase our rents by a maximum of 4.1% this year.  

We believe that in order to deliver our commitments as set out in the corporate plan we need to maximise the money we receive from rents and apply the full increase of 4.1%.  The money we get from our rents is our main source of income and pays for the services we deliver and the investments we make in our properties. 

Do you have to increase my rent?  

No, we don’t have to increase your rent, but to continue operating properly, Connect needs to be able to repair and invest in homes, as well as build new ones and work to regenerate neighbourhoods. If we keep everyone’s rent as it is, we won’t be able to deliver on our promises as a social landlord, or make the investments that we need to.  

How much are you increasing my rent by and how have you calculated it?  

Rents will increase by 4.1% generally [CPI (3.1%) +1%] and we will write to you at the end of February to confirm exactly how much this will be in pounds and pence.  

I pay a service charge, do the same increases apply?  

The 4.1% increase does not apply to service charges. Some service charges may increase, but those charges are always based on the actual costs of the services provided.  

What will you spend the additional rental income on?  

We have set out in our corporate plan what we want to achieve over the next five to ten years. The money we are able to raise from rents will keep us on track to deliver these objectives. We will keep you regularly updated on how we’re performing against the corporate plan’s objectives and our board will scrutinise our performance. 

What do I do if I can’t afford the increase?  

Our priority is to support residents to continue their tenancies. If you have any concerns about being able to afford the increase, please contact our Money Matters team. They are a dedicated money advice service who can support you, help you manage your finances and help to maximise your benefits.  

Please call Money Matters on 0300 5000 600, or email moneymatters@connecthousing.org.uk to make an appointment. 

What if I refuse to pay?  

 Paying your rent is an obligation of your tenancy agreement and there are no circumstances where you can refuse to pay your rent.  If you do refuse to pay the increased rent – or refuse to pay your rent altogether – then rent arrears will build up on your account which puts your home at risk.

If this happens, we will contact you and, if appropriate, offer you support from our Money Matters team to help you find ways to pay the full amount and clear any debt you have built up. If you refuse to engage with us and continue to build up rent arrears, we will have no option but to take legal action to recover the unpaid rent and repossess your home. 

What if I disagree with the rent increase? 

If you don’t agree with the rent increase you have the right to appeal.  Details on how to do this are at the bottom of this article and in the information you will receive with your rent increase notification. 

I claim Universal Credit: will I have to re-apply? Will delays in re-applying mean I build up rent arrears?  

You will not have to complete a brand new claim with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).  However, once we write to let you know the new rent, you will need to inform them via your Universal Credit journal. It is important that you do this within the assessment period that your rent increase starts from.  Further details on what you need to do are in the information booklet with your rent increase notification letter.  

What if Universal Credit doesn’t cover the rent increase?  

If your Universal Credit allowance isn’t increased, please make an appointment with our specialist Money Matters team. The team can help you budget for the increase, or in some cases you may be eligible for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) to help you cover any shortfall. The Money Matters team can help you make the application for DHP.  

My rent is paid by Housing Benefit.  Do I need to do anything? 

You are responsible for your Housing Benefit claim and making sure the correct amount is paid towards your rent. We’ll be notifying them of all our rent increases before April and you’ll get a notification from them to tell you your new entitlement.  If you do not receive anything from them by the end of March, you should contact them. 

I don’t claim benefits; do I need to adjust my direct debit or will you do this automatically?  

Your direct debit will be adjusted automatically by our Finance team – you don’t have to do anything.  

If you pay by standing order you will have to notify your bank to adjust your payments. 

When we write to you at the end of February notifying you of your rent increase, we will let you know what you need to do. 

Where can I get debt and budgeting advice from?  

We have a dedicated Money Matters Service who can help you maximise your benefits and manage your finances. They are experienced in helping tenants and are there to support you in any way they can, including getting access to specialist debt advice.   

Please call Money Matters on 0300 5000 600, or email moneymatters@connecthousing.org.uk to make an appointment. 

What is the timescale for this rent increase?  

You will get a letter formally letting you know of your rent increase by the end of February 2022. The increase will commence from April. 

Why have some of my neighbours not got a rent increase? 

We can’t comment on individual tenancy agreements, but any tenancies less than 12 months old will not get a rent increase. This is because we’re not allowed to increase rent within the first year of a tenancy. We are also only allowed to increase a resident’s rent once a year.  

Why is my rent different to my neighbour? 

We can’t increase rents within the first 12 months of somebody’s tenancy starting. Due to this, neighbouring properties will typically end up having different rents charged because tenants move in at different times. 

Another reason for differences in rent is because of fair rent tenancies (also known as secure tenancies).  These are pre-1989 tenancies that have a rent increases every 2 years and the amounts are fixed by an Independent Rent Assessment Committee.  Their rents will not have increased at the same rates over the years. 

For some Kirklees and Calderdale tenancies further differences are caused because some tenants are charged over 52 weeks.  Most Connect tenancies are charged over 48 weeks but some older tenancies have a clause in their tenancy agreement which means we charge them over 52 instead.  This means they may pay the same amount over the year but pay less on a weekly basis. 

We can only discuss the details of the individual resident’s tenancy and rent with them.  

I’m not happy with my rent increase.  What are my options?  Can I appeal? 

If you think we have made a mistake in setting your rent, let us know and we will review it. If you do not agree with the rent increase you can ask for it to be reviewed by a tribunal. 

Tenants have the right to appeal the rent increase to a Rent Assessment Committee (RAC) any time before the start date of the rent increase.   

The RAC office to contact which covers Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield is: 

Residential Property Tribunal Service
First Floor
5 New York Street
MANCHESTER M1 4JB
Tel: 0845 100 2614 or 0161 237 9491 

Email: northern.rap@communities.gsi.gov.uk 

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Connect Housing Association Limited is a charitable association registered in England and Wales under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 (Company No. IP17445R) and with the Regulator of Social Housing (No. L2285).

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