Changes to your rent

From April 2017 the amount of rent you pay will be changing.

It’s important that you know how our rents (and other charges) are worked out so we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you understand. Find out more about these changes below.

Always pay your rent first, pay ahead and stay ahead.

If you are experiencing problems paying your rent, please contact us.

When should I pay?

You should pay your rent:

  • every Monday in advance – if you’ve chosen to pay your rent weekly
  • every month in advance – if you’ve chosen to pay monthly.

If you claim any benefits to help you to pay your rent, it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re paid. If you can’t pay your rent whg Income Collection Team on 0300 555 6666.

Our team is here to help. If you need information, support or advice about managing your money contact whg Money Advice Service.

How do I know what I’m paying?

The total rent charge shown on your tenancy agreement or rent increase letter covers different elements. These include:

Rent charge

The rent element covers the cost to us of providing, managing and maintaining your home. This can be paid by housing benefit or universal credit.

Service charge

This charge covers the cost of providing and maintaining our services like communal gardening and cleaning. Most costs included in it are eligible for a housing benefit or universal credit payment. This charge is paid at the same time as your rent. Your tenancy agreement provides details of what it includes;

Furnished accommodation

We provide furniture for some homes through an extra charge on top of the rent payment.

Other charges

These can include rent for garages or a parking space, or payments towards the whg home contents insurance scheme. These charges might not be eligible to be paid by housing benefit or universal credit.

Support charges

This covers specific services provided to more vulnerable customers to help them to live independently. These services might not be eligible for full housing benefit or universal credit.

What is a service charge?

You’ll have to pay a service charge if you live in a flat, or a home with communal areas. This charge covers the cost of providing communal services such as cleaning hallways, communal gardening and the cost of managing those services.

It also covers the cost of communal lights, door entry systems and lift maintenance. You may also be charged a contribution to a renewals fund to pay for larger work, such as renewing the door entry system.

You will pay a weekly charge based on an estimated annual cost.  These estimated costs are reviewed every year.

If you are in receipt of housing benefit or Universal Credit, your service charge may be funded in full or in part depending on your circumstances.

How can I check my rent account?

The best way for you to view your rent account is to login on the my account section of this website. If you need any help please contact us. You can also look at your most recent rent statements which should have been sent to you.

How is my rent set?

We’ll set your rent in line with Government guidelines. These ask housing providers to use a single method. This aims to create a fairer system so customers renting similar homes in the same area will pay a similar rent, whether they rent from a housing association or council.

Rents are linked to:

  • property values (which are set by an independent valuation)
  • number of bedrooms
  • average household incomes for the county.

This might mean rents in some areas are reduced, while others will need to be increased. Any changes will be applied gradually.

To protect you, the Government has set a maximum amount of increase or decrease for any single year.

We’ll review rents every April and give you 28 days’ notice in writing before making any changes.

If your rent is charged over 50 weeks, it is calculated by using the cost for the whole year’s rent and dividing it by 50 instead of 52.

How do I pay with benefits?

You can get help with your housing costs, depending on where you live, through either housing benefit or universal credit. Housing benefit is gradually being replaced by Universal Credit. See our Rent First pages for more information.

How much you get will depend on:

  • where you live
  • what savings you have 
  • how many people live with you
  • your income.

Claiming for benefits is your responsibility and you must do this as soon as possible. You must tell your local council’s housing benefit office or DWP of any personal changes immediately. If you don’t, you might have to pay back any overpayment or you might receive less than usual for a short time to make up the difference. If you’re unsure if you can claim please refer to whg budgeting calculator.

If you live in a home that’s bigger than you need, you’ll have to pay the Government’s bedroom under-occupancy charge (bedroom tax). If you can’t afford to do this you might want to think about moving to a smaller home. You can look at your options on the choose and move website. You might also be entitled to discretionary housing payments to cover the increase. You can find out if you can claim these by speaking to your local housing benefit office. Any benefit will be paid for a limited time only.