Rent changes

We review rent and service charge amounts every year based on your tenancy agreement and on national government guidance. We’ll tell you if your rent and other costs are changing, what they’ll be and when they start.

Here’s some information on what’s happening from April 2020, which is when the new charges come into effect.

How is my rent increase worked out?

Over the past four years your rent may have been either frozen or reduced. This will have been dependent on your tenancy agreement.

There have been changes to government regulations which means that this year, your rent is increasing. Details of your individual increases are included in your letter.

What will the money be used for?

The extra money will be used to maintain your home, build much-needed affordable homes and invest in your local communities.

Do I pay service charges?

If you pay service charges they’ll be listed on any letters we send you that tell you about changes to your rent. Service charges cover things like communal lighting, communal water, communal cleaning, looking after the grounds and so on.

Do I need to do anything?

If you pay by direct debit you don’t need to do anything. We’ll send the new direct debit schedule in the post.

If you pay by standing order, you’ll need to change the amount to the charges shown on your letter. 

If you pay online, using the automated telephone line, cash, cheque or other method, you’ll need to pay the new amount.

How do I work out my payments?

If you pay weekly, then you pay the weekly amount.

If you pay calendar monthly (on the same date each month) it’s 52 times your weekly rent divided by 12.

What if I owe you money for my rent?

If you’ve made an arrangement to pay off the debt, add that amount to your new payment – be careful to include the debt in your calculations.

If you haven’t made an arrangement to pay, please contact us.

What if I pay my rent using housing benefit?

If you claim housing benefit, you must tell the local council housing benefit section if your charges are changing, and any changes to your circumstances, such as if someone has moved into or out of your home, or if your wages have changed.

We’ll also tell Medway Council about your rent changes. If your rent is more than your housing benefit, you must pay the difference to us each week. 

If you have an arrangement to pay any rent you owe us, you need to carry on paying the debt.

What if I pay my rent using Universal Credit?

If you claim Universal Credit, you must let the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) know. You should hear from the DWP after 1st April through your journal asking you to update your rent, please remember to check it – the easiest way to report your rent change is to sign in to your Universal Credit account. It’s important you don’t report your rent change until you’re asked to, otherwise it could cause delays in your rent payments.

I can’t afford to pay my rent, what do I do?

If you’re struggling to pay your rent, please tell us straight away. We can check your income and help you budget. 

Your rent must be paid, and we’ll take legal action when necessary, but we prefer to work with you to sort out payments.

When should I pay my rent?

Your tenancy agreement states that payments should be made ‘in advance’.  If your payments are currently paid in arrears, please contact us. We’re happy for you to make the payments weekly or monthly, whichever suits your budget best. 

My direct debit has changed, but my rent hasn’t, why?

If you owe us money for your rent, we’ll increase your direct debit by an amount agreed with you (or the court) to pay off the debt.

If you’re paying in arrears, we’ll increase your direct debit over the course of the year so that your account doesn’t go into debt.

We’ll write to you to let you know if we’ve done either of these things.

Direct debit is the easiest way to pay your rent, the money automatically comes out of your account, so you don’t have to worry. We’ll give you at least 10 days notice of any change to your direct debit amounts.

What about my garage rent?

Garage rents are charged weekly. We collect 52 weeks rent per year. If you’d like to work out the monthly payment, times the weekly rent by 52 and divide by 12. You should pay on the same day each month (either at the beginning or the end).

I’m still unsure what to do

Email contactus@mhs.org.uk, get in touch with us though Live Chat, or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter.