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Annual rent review- your questions answered

This page provides information about the annual rent changes for all South Staffordshire (SSHA) residents 2016 to 2020.

It explains:

  • Why rent is changing
  • How and when it will take effect
  • How residents can access financial advice and support if needed.

If, after reading this, you have any questions about the changes to your rent payments, please contact us in one of the following ways:

Phone: 01785 312000

Email: incomemanagement@housing-plus.co.uk

Make sure you're getting the help you need

If you would like a free confidential chat with a member of our Advice and Support team, please call 01785 312000

You may also find this free benefits advice website helpful in making sure you're receiving all that you're entitled to.

www.direct.gov.uk/en/Diol1/DoItOnline/DoItOnlineByCategory/DG_172666

Why is SSHA changing my rent charge?

Like all social landlords, we have to follow government guidelines relating to social housing rent. All UK social landlords will be reviewing their rent charges in line with government guidelines.

Your rent is used to manage, maintain and improve your home and your community.

Every year the rents we charge are reviewed and any amendments take effect from the start of the new financial year.

When does the new charge come into effect?

The new charges apply from 1st April if your rent charge is monthly and 3rd April 2017 for weekly charges. You will need to adjust your usual payment from April 2017 unless you pay by Direct Debit in which case no action is required.

Why are some rents going up?

When reviewing rent charges we are driven by government guidelines and this year some of our customers will see an increase in their rent whilst others will see a decrease. We recognise that the impact of the increase will differ from one person to the next depending on what benefits they may be in receipt of and, of course, we are very aware that the harsh economic climate is adding to the financial pressure that many of our residents are feeling.

We are committed to ensuring that every SSHA resident has a home they can afford to live in and our highly experienced Advice and Support Officers are available to provide free, expert one-to-one advice should you need it. To access this service please call 01785 312000.

Couldn't you find the money somewhere else?

SSHA is committed to keeping charges as low as possible. As a not-for-profit organisation we work hard to make sure that all of our income is re-invested into services for tenants and much needed new homes for local people. Overall our income will fall by £13 million between 2016 and 2020 and, as a result, we will have to make some difficult decisions about reducing, cutting or charging for some services.

Where will this money be spent?

With SSHA being a not-for-profit organisation, every penny of income we receive goes back into our core business of providing good quality affordable housing in South Staffordshire and supporting the communities where we work.

Last year we invested money in hundreds of improvements to our homes and neighbourhoods, as well as working with local community groups to set up and run job clubs and other projects that contribute to healthy, thriving neighbourhoods.

We will continue improving your neighbourhood and undertaking vital projects in the local community. We want to help you create places where you want to live and where people have the chance to improve their own lives.

What do I need to do?

If you pay by Direct Debit you don't need to do anything. We will make the necessary adjustments to your regular Direct Debit payment.

We will also inform the housing benefit team of the new charges and they will send you a new housing benefit entitlement letter in March/April 2017. Housing benefit will also inform us of your new entitlement so, again, there is nothing you need to do.

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit paid directly to you, you will need to inform the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) of your new rent charge. South Staffordshire Association cannot do this for you.

If you pay by any other method than Direct Debit, you will need to contact your bank or building society to alter your Standing Order as soon as possible or pay in the new amount in the usual way by swipe card or debit/credit card.

What help is available for residents who find themselves struggling financially?

SSHA will continue to offer support and financial advice to all its residents, especially those having money difficulties during the current economic climate.

If you are facing debt or rent arrears, please contact us as soon as possible- the earlier you speak to us, the more we can help.

SSHA's trained staff are able to give financial and welfare benefits advice to residents including help with applying for benefits.

For more information about your rent or to access financial advice, please contact us in one of the following ways:

Phone: 01785 312000

Email: incomemanagement@housing-plus.co.uk

We recognise that increases in rent and other charges are never welcome, especially in these difficult times. However it is hoped that the above information helps explain why it is necessary to increase rents. Please be assured of our committment to delivering homes and services at the best value for money and ensuring that residents who need it are able to access the best possible financial advice and assistance.