Go to homepage
Login to MyPlace

Rent and service charge FAQs

At Great Places we use government guidelines to set your rent each year. This means some of our customers may see an increase in their rent annually, and some may see a decrease. Any changes will be detailed in your tenancy or lease agreement. For more information on what your rent pays for please see below.

Some customers may pay a service charge or may be receiving services as part of the rent that they pay. Some of these services are eligible for Housing Benefit and some are ineligible, meaning Housing Benefit cannot cover these charges. For more information please see below.

Why is my rent increasing?

The rent you pay for your home will increase by 7.7%. We review our rents every year in line with Government guidance. To calculate the increase, we use the September 2023. Consumer Price Index plus 1%. We try to strike a balance between keeping rents affordable and making sure we can maintain the quality of our homes and neighbourhoods.

By how much are you increasing my rent and how have you calculated this?

Rent for most customers will increase by 7.7% in April in line with the September 2023 Consumer Price Index, which was 6.7% plus 1%. Some rents are set on different formulas depending on your tenancy agreement.

What is the Consumer Price Index?

This is a figure used to measure inflation. It reflects how much the price of common goods and services change over time. The Consumer Prices Index is higher than last year because the cost of goods and services has increased more sharply than it has done in previous years.

What does my rent pay for?

Rent is used to pay for repairs and improvements to customers’ homes: improving energy efficiency to help reduce the cost of your bills; improving ventilation to prevent issues caused by condensation; replacing old kitchens and bathrooms; and carrying out minor and major repairs. It also covers our staffing costs Our Customer Annual Report tells you more about what we spent in 2022/23.

Will all rents go up?

Rent increases for homes with the lowest Energy Performance Certificate rating will be capped at 4% instead of 7.7%. 

What do I do if I can’t afford the increase?

If you’re struggling to pay your charges, contact your Neighbourhood Services Manager or Independence and Wellbeing Worker or Plumlife Directory. We know that rising costs will be a significant challenge for many of our customers. We’ve put together some helpful advice and information on making sure you get the maximum amount of income you’re entitled to and the most out of your money. Find out what you could get at greatplaces.org.uk/managing-your-money.

I am on Universal Credit; will I have to re-apply and will this mean weeks of delays in my rent being paid and accumulating rent arrears?

You don’t need to complete a brandnew claim with the Department for Work and Pensions. Once we write to inform you of the new rent, Universal Credit will prompt you in your journal after Monday 1 April. You can then tell them of your new rent and service charge – this is the only time you need to respond about the new rent.

What if I claim Housing Benefit?

If you receive Housing Benefit you need to tell your local council about the changes to your rent.

What if Universal Credit doesn’t cover the rent increase?

If your Universal Credit allowance isn’t increased to cover the additional rent charge, get in touch with your Neighbourhood Services Manager or Independence and Wellbeing Worker to make arrangements to pay any shortfall. They can also direct you a partner organisation who can help you budget for the increase.

How the 53-week rent year may impact you

We charge your rent weekly, but Universal Credit is assessed and paid monthly.
Universal Credit will only pay for a maximum of 52 weeks in a single rent year.
For 2024-2025 there are 53 rent weeks, with the 53rd week falling on 31 March
2025. If you’re paying by Universal Credit, please make additional contributions
towards your rent to cover this shortfall for this final week which Universal
Credit will not pay.

Get more answers to questions about how the 53-week rent year may impact you.

Do I have to adjust my Direct Debit mandate with my bank?

Don’t worry, your Direct Debit will be adjusted automatically. After we have written to you at the end of February notifying you of your rent increase, we will adjust your Direct Debit and you will receive information from Allpay to confirm your new monthly payments. These will start from April. If you have a repayment plan for rent arrears, we will add the additional amount onto your monthly Direct Debit total. We will amend your new payments in line with the new charge.

Why will the first Direct Debit payment be more than the rest?

If you pay your rent by Direct Debit you’ll notice that your first payment is higher than the payment for the next month. 

The reason for this is that the rent calculation for this financial year from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025 is over 53 weeks instead of the usual 52 weeks. Your first Direct Debit payment will be the difference between the rent you used to pay and the rent you will pay from 1 April 2024. 

If you’re in arrears your arrears payment is added on top of this payment. 

Your next months payment will be lower as it will be based on the new rent for 1 April 2024 as well as the arrears if you have any. 

What if I am in arrears?

We’re here to help. Get in touch with your Neighbourhood Services Manager, Property Manager in Plumlife or your Independence and Wellbeing Worker. They will discuss repayment options, support you to get your account back on track and advise on where to find additional support.

When will my rent increase?

You will receive information about your rent increase in February 2024. The new rent amount will then apply from 1 April 2024. 

What is a service charge?

Some of our homes also include a service charge for the cost of services within shared, communal areas. Service charges are included in your total charge and cover services such as window cleaning, communal gardening, maintenance of lifts, communal heating and lighting or security. 

How is my service charge increase set?

We review your service charges in line with our contracts and service costs, which are based on the actual amount we expect services to cost each year. So, we charge you less when prices go down, but you’ll see a higher charge when they increase.