How we set your rent and service charges

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Rent charges

Jigsaw Homes charge rent every Monday and in the next financial year (2019/20) there will be 53 Mondays/rent charges within the year.

For existing tenants who have a clear rent account and normally pay on a monthly basis their new monthly payment will be calculated by using their rent charge as at 1st April 2019 and multiplying it by 53 weeks and dividing by 12. If an account is in arrears this will be factored into any calculations.

Jigsaw intends to amend any existing direct debits to reflect the 53 week rent charge. Please note Chorley Community Housing tenants who have a 4 rent free weeks period during the course of each financial year will have their rent charged in 2019/20 over 49 weeks instead of a 48 weeks.

If you have any questions please contact us on 0300 111 1133.

Social rent

Social rent or ‘Formula Rent’ is initially set using a calculation outlined in the Government framework.  The aim of the framework is to make the process of setting rents across the country impartial and linked directly to the value of the property you live in, the number of bedrooms and the average earnings within the region. The current government rules state that between April 2016 and April 2020, rents will be reduced by 1% each year.

Affordable rent

The Government framework outlines the calculation to initially set an affordable rent, which equates to approximately 80% of market rent for a similar property within the area. This rent will then be increased or decreased each year dependent upon the government rules at that time. The annual 1% rent decrease also applies to affordable rent.

Shared ownership rent

Shared ownership is a part-buy, part-rent scheme that allows you to buy a share in a new home. The rent you pay is determined by the share of the home that you own.  If for example you own a 25% share in your home then you pay rent to the association for the remaining 75%.

Fair rent

A fair rent is a rent which was set if your tenancy started before 15 January 1989.  This rent will have been registered with the Valuation Office Agency. Once it has been registered, this is the maximum amount that the landlord can charge until the rent is reviewed every two years.

Service charges

The service charges you pay will depend on where you live and the services you receive. Your tenancy agreement states which services you receive. These details are also listed on your rent review notice. Some may be personal to you, such as personal heating and hot water, water rates or home contents insurance.

Depending on the kinds of service charges you receive, these may increase or decrease on an annual basis. You will receive notification of any changes to your service charges with your rent statement.

The 1% rent reduction detailed by the government DOES NOT apply to service charges.

Housing benefit and Universal Credit cover most communal charges but not any charge that is personal to you.

 

Changes to your rent and service charges

At the rent review date, you will receive details of your rent and service charge for the coming year.  When you receive this, you have to make the necessary arrangements to pay it.

If you are paying by Direct Debit , we will make the necessary alterations to your Direct Debit.  Once this is done, you will receive a letter notifying you of the payment amounts and the dates this money will be taken from your bank account.  Direct Debit is our preferred method of payment.

If you are paying by standing order through your bank, you should inform your bank of any changes in the amount you need to pay and ensure that your payments cover both your existing and new rent charges.

If you are claiming Housing Benefit, we will inform your Local Authority Housing Benefit Department of your revised rent and service charge.  It is your responsibility to ensure your Housing Benefit is paid at the correct rate.

If you are claiming Universal Credit, you will need to notify the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) of any changes to your rent and service charge. The association is unable to do this on your behalf.  Depending upon your Universal Credit claim, you can do this by:

  • contacting Universal Credit on 0800 328 5644
  • providing a copy of the rent charge letter to DWP/Job Centre Plus
  • Updating your journal, if your Universal Credit claim is solely managed online.

If you are worried that you might not be able to pay your rent, you should contact us immediately.  You can also seek advice from a citizen’s advice bureau or housing advice centre.

We offer a confidential money advice service to assist tenants in dealing with benefit entitlements, debt problems, and also provide advice on other matters concerning finances. This is a free and confidential service that may increase your household income, or enable you to make more use of it.

 

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