When might my rent or charges increase

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 2024, which is when the new charges come into effect.

52 week rent year

There are 52 Mondays in the next rent year across the 12 months that your rent is calculated. This means if you pay your rent monthly that you'll need to calculate your rent over 52 weeks.

How is my rent increase worked out?

Rent and service charge amounts are reviewed each year, based on the tenancy agreement terms and government guidance.

Our rents will go up based on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) from September 2023, or the Retail Prices Index (RPI) for January 2024. Most tenancy will state which is used, where the tenancy does not say, we use September CPI.

For shared ownership customers, we use the formula set out in the lease.

Details of your individual increases are included in your letter.

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 or through another 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’re able to advise Medway Council about your rent changes, but we are currently unable to notify other local authorities. 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.

Paying your rent using Universal Credit

If you claim Universal Credit, you must let the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) know. You will have a “Confirm your housing costs” task added to your to-do list via your Universal Credit account. These will be added as follows:

  • 1 April 2024 for those that pay rent monthly
  • 1 or 8 April 2024 for all other rent frequencies

It’s important you do not complete this task of notifying them until your new charge takes effect. We’ve set out all the information you need and the dates when you need to do it, on your rent increase notification.

The easiest way to notify them of 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.

52 week rent year and universal credit

Universal Credit pays over 52 weeks.

Rent increases on 1 or 8 April

Some of our rents don’t increase until 1 or 8 April. It's not yet clear whether when you say 'No' on the screen below, whether you will be able to enter these dates. 

We're therefore advising customers to use the “Change of circumstances” function to notify Universal Credit of your rent increase.

I can’t afford to pay my rent and/or charges, what do I do?

If you’re struggling to pay your rent and/or charges, 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).