Rent Free Weeks Survey
When we set your rents they are set as annual amounts which are then apportioned over 48 weeks rather than 52 weeks. It means that you are charged a little bit extra each week but have the luxury of 4 weeks in the year when you are not charged.
The reason is to ease financial burden on tenants at specific periods in the year when other household expenditure may increase, for example in August (school holidays) and December (Christmas).
Connect Housing are proposing that we abolish rent free weeks and charge tenants over 52 weeks in the year rather than 48. This means that you will still pay the same amount over the year but your weekly rent will be slightly less each week.
In recent years there have been many changes to the welfare benefit system, the main one being the introduction of Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is calculated on a monthly entitlement basis and rent free weeks do not fall neatly with DWP’s method of calculation and payments.
Rent free weeks are confusing for some tenants.
In recent years some tenants have been telling us that they find the concept of rent free weeks confusing. Many tenants like to know what they need to pay every week and then stick to those payments without having to worry about adjusting their budgets or payments for the odd few weeks in the year.
Administering rent free weeks is costly for the Association.
Many of our tenants like to pay their rent by direct debit and under our new Income Collection Policy we are encouraging all tenants to pay by this method. This means that we have to spend considerable staff time amending direct debits for rent free weeks to ensure payments are not taken from tenants when there is no rent charge. This is staff time we would like to spend helping tenants and delivering our other services.
We need your views on this. At the Annual General Meeting of the Connect Residents Federation, you will have an opportunity to tell us your experiences of having rent free weeks as a Connect tenant. We want to know if you see any value in them and whether we should keep them or not. We will be asking tenants the 3 questions on this page (below) to understand your views.