About Your Rent
Rent Increase – frequently asked questions
How much will rents be increased by and from when?
Your rent will increase by 7% starting from Monday 3rd April 2023 if your rent is charged every week. If your rent is charged monthly the new charge will apply from 1st April 2023.
I’m not happy about my rent increase. Please can you remove it?
Unfortunately, we are unable to remove the rent increase. We are continuing to look at ways that we can increase the support that we offer to customers. Please get in touch if you have any concerns.
Why has my rent gone up?
As a Housing Association we follow Government guidance and regulation when we increase rents. The rent increase for 2023 has been capped by the Government at 7%.
We recognise that our customers are facing challenges with increases in fuel, food and household bills. We are here to support customers and can do this in a variety of ways – please see section below on accessing support.
As a not-for-profit organisation, we have also seen costs rise across a number of areas – 17% over five years, income has only increased by 4% over the same period. These cost increases include delivering repairs, maintenance, the cost of materials, supplies and labour.
As your landlord, we remain committed to providing you with safe, well-maintained homes and communities that you are proud to live in.
We also commit to make further investment in the safety and servicing of homes. This year, we’re investing more in energy efficiencies to meet Government targets to cut carbon emissions and to make homes more efficient to run.
How is rent decided?
Rent levels for social housing are guided by the Government. Further information on the Rent Standard can be found here:
What is the service charge increase?
Service charges are not governed by the same formula as rents. Any charges we make for services are based on the actual cost of providing the service. Some costs are increasing considerably and as a result, this year we have chosen to increase service charges by 10.1%.
This year, we have increased service charges by 10.1%, which is based on the estimated costs we expect in 2023/24 for the services we provide you with as part of your tenancy.
We are currently finalising the details of the costs for providing you with services during 2021/22 and 2022/23. We will communicate these details to you in September 2023. Where you have been undercharged during 2021/22, we will not recover this amount. If we have overcharged you, we will reduce the service charges you pay from October 2023 to March 2024 to take account of this. Any over or undercharges for 2022/23 costs will be reflected in your service charges for 2024/25 that we will communicate to you in early 2024.
What does the service charge cover?
Some customers pay a service charge alongside their rent. Services covered by service charges could include:
• Cleaning communal areas and removing dumped rubbish
• Cutting communal grassed areas, looking after planted areas and tree maintenance
• Repairs to communal facilities such as door entry systems, lifts, television aerials and lighting
• Providing firefighting equipment, including repairing and testing emergency lighting and smoke alarms
• Providing water, electricity and gas supplies to communal areas
Can I appeal the increase?
Customers who pay a service charge can appeal to the First Tier Tribunal and you will find further information on this in your service charge rights and obligations letter.
How can I get support?
Our priority is to support you as our customer to sustain your tenancy.
If you’re concerned about money or having difficulty paying your rent please let us know as soon as possible.
Our Money Matters team can provide you with guidance and help on maximising your income and claiming benefits. This service is free and confidential. See our website for details: www.incommunities.co.uk/money-matters
In addition, it is also possible for us to connect you to specialist services and grants you may be able to access.
You can access independent money advice with:
I’m worried I won’t be able to pay my rent
If you are concerned about being able to pay rent or service charges, please talk to us as soon as you can.
We are here to help and available to support with:
- Payment plans
- Identifying benefits you may be entitled to
- Budgeting support
- Debt management
- Putting you in touch with organisations and charities who can provide support and resources
- Practical help with the cost of food and energy bills
You can contact us in a variety of ways:
- Call: 0330 175 9540
- Email: email@example.com
- Use Live Chat: www.incommunities.co.uk
- Use this online form to get in touch with our Money Matters team: www.incommunities.co.uk/money-matters
Will my benefits be impacted?
We will notify Bradford Council’s Housing Benefit Service of your new rent and service charges, so if you receive Housing Benefit you do not need to do anything about your rent increase.
If you live in an area outside of Bradford, you will need to notify your local Housing Benefit service of your new rent and service charge. You should check your future rent statements to make sure you are receiving the correct benefit onto your rent account.
How do I update my Universal Credit journal?
If you currently receive a housing element of Universal Credit, you will need to update your online journal on or after 3rd April 2023. You will need to log in and make sure that your landlord is Incommunities Ltd and that you input your new rent payment amount.
If you pay your rent by direct debit you will receive a letter which informs you of the new amount to be taken. You do not need to do anything to change this amount. If you would like to set up a direct debit please get in touch with our team as listed above.
What are the rent-free weeks?
Four non-charge weeks are still available for some customers who are up to date with their rent payments. These are:
- Monday, 10th April 2023 (Easter)
- Monday, 28th August 2023 (Summer Bank Holiday)
- Monday, 25th December 2023 (Christmas period)
- Monday, 1st January 2024 (Christmas period)
If you are in arrears with your rent, you will still be expected to pay rent during these weeks to help bring your rent account up to date.