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Annual rent review - your questions answered

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

It explains:
 
•    Why rent is changing 
•    How and when will it 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 the following ways:

•    Phone: 01785 312000
•    Or email us at incomemanagement@housingplusgroup.co.uk

Make sure you’re getting the help you need

If you would like a free confidential chat with one of our Employment, Money and Advice Team please phone 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.gov.uk/browse/benefits

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 affect from the start of the new financial year. 

When does the new rent charge come into effect?

The new charges apply from 1st April 2018 if your rent charge is monthly and 2nd April 2018 for weekly charges. You will need to adjust your usual payment from April 2018 unless you pay by Direct Debit in which case no action is required as we will do this for you. 

Why are some rents going up?

When reviewing rent charges we are driven by government guidelines and this year some of our customers might see an increase in their rent whilst others might 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 Employment, Money and Advice 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 non for profit community 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 non 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 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 tell the Housing Benefit team about the new charges and they will send you a new Housing Benefit entitlement letter around March/April time. 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 you will need report to the change of circumstances (rent change)  by either signing into your Universal Credit account if you have one, or by calling the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 9344.  

The DWP also have a website with useful information at www.gov.uk/universal-credit

If you pay by bank transfer or standing order you will need to contact your bank or building society to alter your standing order amount as soon as possible. We have   recently changed our sort code to 20-97-86 so if you have not already done so, you will need to update our bank details with you bank or building society as soon as possible. 

If you pay your rent by swipe card or by debit/card you will need to amend your payment value to the new amount. 

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:

•    by phone on 01785 312000
•    or by email at incomemanagement@housingplusgroup.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 commitment 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.