In January 2021, the council issued all tenants a notice of proposed changes to how we will calculate weekly rent charges from April 2021 and invited comments for our consideration.
We have considered the comments and feedback from the consultation and have moved to progress the proposed changes as detailed below. We would like to thank all who took the time to provide feedback.
We have now informed all tenants that the changes will take effect from the start of the new rent year along with details of rent charges for 2021/22.
Having considered the comments received the following summary provides information about the changes and the benefits you will see.
52-week calculation of annual rent charges
Previously we have used a 48-week calendar period to calculate our rent charges. This entitled all tenants to have 4 weeks each year where no rent payments were needed, provided accounts were not in arrears.
The 'rent free' periods will no longer be automatically applied, which reduces the weekly rent charges tenants will pay from April.
However, all tenants can continue to have 'rent free' periods at a time which suits them rather than at set times each year. To continue to take advantage of a 'rent free' period your account must be in credit to cover the payment break.
For example: you would like to have the final rent month (March 2022) as a 'rent free' period. To do so you will need to have paid your rent charges up-to-date (no arrears) and increased your payments prior to the start of the 'rent free' period:
2021/22 Annual Rent Charge= £5200.00
Standard 52-Week Rent Charge = £100/week
4-week rent-free period (March 2022)
Your payments should be based on = £108.33/week
If you are planning to have a 'rent free' period at any time during the rent year you should contact the Rents team to discuss how your current payments should be altered. Otherwise if you do not intend to take any ‘rent free’ periods you will now have the benefit of having your weekly rent charges reduced by this change.
From April 2021 we will be advising you of your weekly rent charges, net of any benefits/reductions which you may be entitled. This will make it easier for you to calculate any adjustments to your payments to plan for a 'rent free' period.
Default payment method
We encourage and support all tenants to move to a monthly Direct Debit payment arrangement for their rent charges.
We understand this may not be suitable or desirable for all tenants. The arrangements you make to pay your rent on time remains your choice. If you wish to continue to pay your rent fortnightly, weekly or by cash payments then these remain available options.
We consider regular Direct Debit arrangements to be the safest, easiest and most common method of paying bills and our default recommended arrangement will reflect this. This change will most likely affect new tenants rather than a change to current tenant arrangements.
If you would like to move to monthly Direct Debit payments, please click the button below to find out more, and then you can complete the online form to set this up.
How do I pay my council home or garage rent?