Your rent statement
If you have a tenancy agreement with us, you'll need to pay a rental charge. If you live a residential block, you may also need to pay a service charge - you can find out more by visiting the Your service charge statement page.
If you are struggling to cover your rent payments and other charges, please get in touch with us as soon as possible. We can work with you to agree a payment plan if you are having difficulties. Help us help you – take a look at this flowchart that explains the process that will occur and get in touch with us.
We work with partners including Citizen's Advice to offer free support and advice to help you manage your household budget - you can find out more about our help and support services on the Better Days website.
If you miss payments, your debt will increase. If necessary, we will stop providing services to you and will take legal action to recover our costs and property.
Accessing your rent statement
You can access details of charges and payments anytime by logging in to My Account and clicking on 'View account details'.
You will also receive a rent statement by post every three months.
The amount you need to pay is set out in your tenancy agreement and any subsequent letters we send to you about increases or decreases to your charges.
You should pay your rent:
- every Monday in advance if you’ve chosen to pay your rent weekly; or
- every month in advance if you’ve chosen to pay monthly.
Information about what will happen if you are unable to pay your rent can be found here.
How are rental charges set?
If you have an assured tenancy it may be a social or affordable rent tenancy.
The social rent calculation is based on a formula that considers:
- independent property valuations;
- the number of bedrooms in your property;
- the average household incomes for the local authority area.
The affordable rent calculation is capped at a maximum of 80% of market rental value for a similar property the area. This value will also include the service charge. As policy Orbit also cap affordable rents at Local Housing Allowance rates.
We follow Government guidelines for setting rents. The guidelines aim to create a fairer system so customers in similar homes are charged at similar levels, whether they rent from a housing association or council.
If you have a secure tenancy, the maximum level of rent that can be charged, the ‘fair rent’ is set independently by the Government’s Valuation Office Agency. You may be able to check the fair rent valuation for your property on the Gov.uk website. This valuation states the Registered Rent and your rent and service charge total cannot be higher than the Registered Rent. In addition, the rent cannot be higher than the social rent calculation above.
Changes to rent and other charges
Your rent and other charges (such as service charge and management charges) are reviewed annually. Your rent charge is reviewed according to the Government guidelines. Where services are provided, they are reviewed to reflect the actual costs of providing the service.
2019 was the last year of the Government guidelines that required a 1% reduction to the rent. For annual review 2020 new guidelines have been published that allow us to increase your rent by the September 2019 Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1%. September 2019 CPI is 1.7% so the rent increase allowable this year is 2.7%. Our rental income is important as it allows us to maintain existing homes, invest in our communities and build new homes. This year, after 4 years of reduction we will be increasing rents by the allowable 2.7%.
If your rent or other charges need to change, we will contact you to let you know at least 28 days before the changes take effect.
You can appeal changes to your rent and other charges by contacting us within 28 days of the date given on the notice communication we send to you. If you are not satisfied with our response, you may be able to appeal to the Government’s First Tier Tribunal.
Charges you may see on your statement
The total rent charge shown on your tenancy agreement or rent increase letter covers different elements. These include:
The rent element covers the cost to us of providing, managing and maintaining your home. This can be paid by Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit. See our information about paying housing costs using benefits.
This charge covers the cost of providing and maintaining our services like communal gardening and cleaning. Most costs included in a service charge are eligible for a Housing Benefit payment. This charge is paid at the same time as your rent. Your tenancy agreement provides details of what it includes.
We collect water rates for the local water authority at a small number of our homes. Water rates can’t be paid by Housing Benefit.
We supply heating to a small number of homes and communal areas. There’s a charge for this service. Heating charges can’t be paid by Housing Benefit.
We provide furniture for some homes through an extra charge on top of the rent payment.
These can include rent for garages or a parking space, or payments towards the Orbit Group home contents insurance scheme. These charges might not be eligible to be paid by Housing Benefit.
This covers specific services provided to more vulnerable customers to help them to live independently. Examples include having access to our response unit or being provided with a sheltered housing scheme manager. These services can’t be paid by Housing Benefit.
If you receive housing benefit you might be able to get a supporting people grant. This depends on where you live, as the money is provided by the local council that administers the scheme.
If you don’t get Housing Benefit, you’ll have to pay your support charge. If the responsible council has a fairer charging policy, you can ask the authority to decide if you should have to pay. If you have any questions, please contact us.