We've just completed the annual rent review and tenants will receive detailed personal letters.
Here are some of the questions we are most commonly asked about the rent review.
How is my rent calculated?
General needs or affordable rent properties
In July 2015, the Government revised the formula all social landlords use for setting rents for the next four years on general needs or affordable rent properties. This will ensure rents are affordable and set based on the size and location of your home, whoever your landlord is. The new formula becomes effective from the 2016/2017 rent year. The formula to be used will be a reduction of your current rent by 1%.
How will my rent be calculated for 2018?
Here's an example of how a 1% reduction will work:
Current rent of £125 x (-1%) = £1.25
£125 - £1.25 = £123.75
New rent is £123.75
Kent Excellent Homes for All
These properties are not subject to the rent standard and are calculated based on the previous September’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) + 1%. The rent on these properties is charged 52 weeks of the year.
The formula used for 2017:
September 2016 CPI was 3%. This means this year rents will be calculated using the formula of 3 + 1 = 4%.
An example of this would be:
Current Rent of £125 x 4% = £5
£125 + £4 = £129
New rent £129
Intermediate market rent
Intermediate market rent is set based on the average local market rate for the type of property you are renting. It is then calculated at 80% of this figure.
I am a shared owner, how is my rent calculated?
Shared ownership rent is calculated using the Retail Price Index (RPI) + the percentage figure that is determined in your lease. This will be explained in detail in your rent increase letter.
Why is my rent different to my neighbours?
Your rent can be different for a number of reasons. The main factor is the dates you and your neighbour each moved into your properties. Over the years, rents have been calculated using various methods and therefore your neighbour's rent may have been calculated in the past, based on a previous system.
How is a service charge calculated?
Service charges are set using actual costs for communal cleaning, window cleaning (communal properties only), grounds maintenance and utility charges.
What is an eligible/non eligible service charge?
An eligible service charge can be included in your housing benefit claim. This would normally be for communal charges only. A non eligible service charge can't be included in your housing benefit claim. These charges relate to personal use within your home, i.e. heating and hot water.
What do I do if I think my rent is too high or I can't afford it?
West Kent will always follow the formula set by the Government when setting rents, but if you think your rent is too high, please call customer services on 01732 749400 to discuss it.
If you can't afford to pay your rent, please contact your housing income officer immediately to discuss the situation. If you don't know who your housing income officer is, or don't have their contact details, please call customer services on 01732 749400 and they will be able to help.
How do I pay my rent?
West Kent offers a variety of payment options.
I pay my rent by direct debit, do I need to do anything?
No, we will recalculate your payments for you using your new rent charge and will send you a new payment schedule during March 2015 before anything is collected.
If you receive housing benefit then this may affect the direct debit collection amount. It is your responsibility to make sure the amount we collect covers the rest of your rent charge.
I pay my rent by standing order, do I need to do anything?
Yes, you will need to contact your bank personally and request your payments are amended in line with your new rent charge.
It is your responsibility to make sure your payments cover your rent charge.
I receive housing benefit, do I need to do anything?
We will contact your council for you and inform them of your new charges. They will then reassess your claim and write to you directly to advise you of your new award.
If you pay by direct debit you must ensure you advise us of your new award as this will affect the direct debit collection amount. It is your responsibility to make sure the amount we collect covers the rest of your rent charge.
I am a weekly charged resident and pay my rent monthly, why are my payments not reduced during April and December when there are rent free weeks?
When calculating a monthly amount, an annual figure is used and then divided across the months to ensure an equal amount is paid every month. This helps towards budgeting for many of our residents.
Overall you will still only pay for 48 weeks of rent, but you will not see a reduction in your April and December payments. Here's an example of this:
£125 x 48 (rent weeks) = £6,000
£6,000 / 12 (months) = £500 per month.
I am a weekly charged resident, do I still get my rent free weeks if I am in arrears?
All weekly charged accounts will have the rent free weeks applied in both April and December regardless of their balance, however if you do have arrears, we expect you to continue making payments as anything that is paid during this period will reduce your arrears directly.
If you have any questions not answered here please call customer services on 01732 749400.