We will give you four weeks’ notice in writing of any changes in your rent. Your rent will increase on the first Monday of April each year, unless your tenancy agreement or lease states otherwise.
How your rent is set
Rents are set by the government. Over the past 4 years between 2016/2017 to 2019/2020, your rent has been reduced by 1% each year as part of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.
This year, from the 6th April 2020, your rent will increase in line with the Government’s 2020 Rent Standard, which guides how rents will be set for the next five years. The Rent Standard explains that Housing providers can increase social and affordable rents by a maximum of inflation plus 1% (by using September 2019’s Consumer Price Index plus 1 percentage point). We plan to use the resources raised through the rent increase to invest more in our existing homes providing all our tenants with safe and secure accommodation.
Tenancies that began before 15th January 1989 have the rent set by an independent Rent Officer of the Valuation Office Agency every two years. The Rent Officer will determine a maximum rent that can be charged and will take regard of the property age, character locality, and local rents.
Rents are increased on the anniversary of the last rent increase, so your rent may not change on 06th April 2020 but you may still receive a letter to confirm your current rent charge.
The earliest we can apply for re-registration of a rent is 3 months before the due date of when your rent was last increased.
Affordable Rents are set at 80% of the local market rent on the start of the tenancy and this is guided by Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Your rent will be increased annually on the first Monday of April by CPI plus 1 percentage point.
Your rent is based on the share of your home that still belongs to BCHG. Your lease will tell you how and when the rent is reviewed.
Service charges are calculated to recover actual costs of services we provide to your estate from the year before. If applicable to you, a service charge breakdown and how we calculate it can be sent to you on request. Please contact your Customer Relations Manager for this information. Their details can be found on the Contact us Page on our website.
What you must do when you receive your rent increase notice
Following receipt of your notice, you need to make arrangements to pay it. We have answered some frequently asked questions below about making sure your rent is paid following the rent increase.
How do I pay my rent?
The easiest way to pay your rent is by direct debit. You can call us to set this up over the phone. Alternatively, please visit our website where you can make payments online by clicking here or by downloading the All Pay app on your smart phone. You will need your Tenancy Reference Number which is at the top of this letter.
How can I check my rent account to make sure my account is clear?
Paying your rent is a priority and you are responsible to make sure it is paid in advance in line with your tenancy agreement. You can sign up to your very own BCHG online account by visiting here and clicking on “Register”. Here you can access your rent account 24/7, make rent payments online, report repairs or contact us about something else.
All or part of my current rent is covered by Housing Benefit; do I need to do anything?
You are responsible to make sure your rent is paid. Whilst we will tell the Housing Benefit department of your new rent charge, you should also tell them to make sure your new award is changed in line with the new charges.
I receive Universal Credit; do I need to do anything?
Yes, you must tell The Department of Work and Pensions of your new rent charge. You may be able to do this through your online journal or through your Work Coach. You should check your journal to complete any “To Do” tasks as quickly as possible to make sure your benefit are paid correctly. You should speak to the Department of Work and Pensions in advance about the best time to tell them of the change, because this may affect the amount you get for your housing costs.
My current rent is paid by standing order; do I need to contact the bank?
Yes, we cannot amend standing orders so please contact your bank immediately to amend your payments.
Do I need to amend my direct debit?
No, we will do this for you. You will receive a letter from All Pay to confirm this change. Please check the letter to make sure the details are correct and let us know if anything needs to be changed.
How do you calculate payments per calendar month?
Multiply the total weekly charge by 52 and divide by 12. This will ensure you pay the same amount every month and that your account is kept up to date.
There are some arrears on my account. Do I need to continue to pay the agreed amount?
Yes, this will have been included automatically in the direct debit change. You will need to include this in any standing order increases. Please continue to pay the agreed amount off the arrears if you make your payments online or by rent payment card.
If you have any queries about this, please contact your Customer Relations Manager.
Difficulties in paying your rent?
We can give advice on who to contact if you have multiple debts or need help to budget to pay for priority debts such as rent. Please contact your Customer Relations Manager for further information.