Important changes to rent and service charges

Whether you rent a home, or you’re a shared owner, leaseholder or freeholder, we review the rent and the service charges you might be paying every year.

We write to customers every February about any changes that will take effect from April, the start of the new financial year.

 

Your rent 2020-2021

As your landlord, we are committed to providing you with an excellent service. Over the last four years the cost of providing services and maintaining our homes has continued to rise while the rents we charge have been reducing.

The way that housing associations set their rents is determined by government regulation. For the last four years, Catalyst like all other housing associations, has been required to reduce rents by 1% a year. This is changing.

The government’s 2020 Rent Standard, which guides how rents will be set for the five years from April 2020, says that housing associations can now increase social and affordable housing rents by a maximum of inflation plus 1%.

After careful consideration and consultation with our Board, we will be applying a 2.7% rent increase from April 2020, which will affect all customers that pay us rent.

We believe the new rent settlement strikes the right balance between maintaining affordability for our customers while also providing financial certainty for us to invest in new and existing homes.

If you are a shared owner your rent will go up by 2.7% from October 2020

If you are a leaseholder or shared owner and pay ground rent, your rent is adjusted annually as outlined in your lease.

 

Your service charges 2020-2021

Changes to service charges are not driven by changes to rent, but are based on the estimated costs of providing services you get depending on the type of property you live in.

If you pay a service charge for your home, we’ll send you an estimated service charge every year, usually in February. This estimate is based on what we expect the services we provide will cost you in the year ahead.

If you pay a variable service charge, we’ll send you another letter by the end of September. This letter will tell you what has been spent in the previous financial year and if you’re entitled to a refund or need to pay an additional charge.

 

Find out more about the changes

Take a look at our frequently asked questions about the rent you pay and information about what service charges can include.

If you have any other questions or are concerned about paying your rent or service changes, please email info@chg.org.uk or call us on 0300 500 6262.

Frequently asked questions about changes to your rent

It’s important that you know how your rent is worked out.

We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions about changes to your rent and how to pay to help make things clear.

If you can’t find the answer to your question below, please email info@chg.org.uk or call us on 0300 500 6262.

 

When will I be getting my rent letter this year?

In February you’ll receive the usual written notice of the April rent change.

 

What will I need to do when I get my letter?

Please read your letter carefully. It contains information you will need to be aware of, including details about paying your rent or service charges.

If you don’t understand any part of the letter or have any questions you think aren’t answered in this FAQ section, email info@chg.org.uk

You can also call us on 0300 500 6262.

 

I haven’t had a letter yet, what do I do?

You should get your letter by the end of February. If you haven’t had a letter by 1 March, then get in touch with us. If you’ve changed your postal address, it’s important you let us know so we can update your records and can keep in touch with you.

 

It looks like my rent is going up. When will the increase start?

If your rent is charged weekly the increase starts from Monday 6 April 2020. If it’s charged monthly, then your rent goes up from Sunday 1 April 2020. Your letter will explain what is happening and when in more detail.

 

Why is my rent going up?

If you’re living in one of our social or affordable rent homes, your rent is going up by up to 2.7% from April 2020. This is in line with government legislation which states the rent can be raised by CPI (Consumer Price Index) + 1%

We use income from rent to help fund – in part – all our activities, from maintaining existing homes, to building new homes for people in need.

Having not increased rents for four years, we believe this rent increase strikes a balance between being affordable for residents and helping us invest in homes and communities.

 

I claim housing benefit. Do I need to contact my local council?

If housing benefit is paid directly to you – then you’ll need to ley your local council know of the changes to your rent and service charges, as soon as possible.

 

I’m claiming Universal Credit. Do I need to tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) my rent has changed?

If you’re claiming Universal Credit then you’ll need to let the DWP know of the changes to your rent and service charges, as soon as possible.

 

I pay my rent by direct debit. Will it automatically change to reflect the increase?

If you pay by direct debit, we will automatically recalculate the amount you pay from April 2020. If you are on a payment plan, we will adjust your direct debit to take that into account.

 

Are there other ways to pay my rent?

There are lots of ways to pay the rent money you owe. Our payment options page for further details. 

 

I’m not happy with these changes or the services I get. Who can I talk to?

If you’ve any issues, concerns or complaints please email info@chg.org.uk or call 0300 500 6262.

 

I’ve read your letter and I don’t agree with the calculations. What can I do?

Please contact us at info@chg.org.uk or call 0300 500 6262.

 

Your service charges explained

A service charge is a payment made by a tenant towards the costs of providing services such as repairs, maintenance, insurance and management costs. Your charges will vary according to the services you receive.

 

Click on the links below to find out more about the service charges you pay.

I am a leaseholder 

I am a shared owner 

I am a tenant