Your rent and service charge
When we review our rents and service charges each year, the Welsh Government says that we must make sure that they are affordable for current and future tenants, and that we set service charges which are reasonable, affordable and offer value for money.
Our question of the month in December/January time gave us the opportunity to ask customers who called us if they felt their rent is value for money. 280 customers took part, with 78% feeling their rent is value for money. Comments from our customers included:
- “Yes, as someone who has rented privately, I really notice the difference”
- “Extremely good value for money – couldn’t afford to buy”
- “Considering the cost of rent around here it is very good value”
- “It’s not too expensive but I wouldn’t call it cheap”
What does my rent and service charge cover?
Rent is payable on your property for the cost of providing, managing, maintaining and improving your home. The money we raise through rent collection goes back into providing services and maintaining our homes. Your rent helps to pay for the following services:
- Repairs, maintenance and buildings insurance of homes
- Improving homes to make sure they reach government standards
- Office and staff costs
- Management costs such as dealing with neighbourhood issues and collecting rent
Service charges are paid for the specific services you receive from us and usually relate to the communal areas in and around your home. The charges for each service are based on the actual cost of providing that service the previous year. Most service charges are eligible for housing benefit and Universal Credit.
Read a summary of some of the service charges
- Communal cleaning – cleaning of the communal areas.
- Communal electricity – the cost of electricity for streetlights in non-adopted estates and/or providing electricity for lighting in communal areas where you live.
- Grounds maintenance – the cost of cutting grass and maintaining the outdoor communal areas of your estate or scheme.
- Communal TV aerial – the cost of providing and maintaining a shared TV aerial on your estate, scheme or block of flats.
- Fire equipment – the cost of providing and maintaining fire equipment in your property, scheme or block of flats.
- Communal heating/hot water – the cost for providing heating and/or hot water in the communal areas where you live.
- CCTV maintenance – the cost of providing and maintaining CCTV equipment in the communal areas where you live.
- Lift maintenance – the cost of servicing and maintaining the lift at your scheme/block of flats.
- Water rates – the cost of providing a water supply to your individual flat.
This list is not exhaustive.
How we spent your rent in 2021
- Built more affordable homes for customers to rent and buy
- Mortgage and loan repayments on our existing homes
- Continued to invest in repairs and maintenance in your home by offering a responsive repairs service available 365 days a year.
We are pleased to have been able to continue with our repairs services and our planned programme to meet Welsh Housing Quality Standards (WHQ) requirements.
repairs carried out
gas and electrical safety checks
homes had new windows and doors
Why is my rent and service charge increasing?
Rents are reviewed annually with new rents being communicated to customers by the end of February each year for introduction from April each year. Government guidelines tell us how to review your rent.
Your service charges are also reviewed. Changes to service charges are related to the actual cost of delivering the services.
Value for money has been given strong consideration as part of the 2022 budget setting process.
Frequently asked questions
Why is my rent going up?
As per your tenancy agreement, we review your rent every year and any changes we make take effect in April. This is to cover the repayment of the mortgage on your home and the housing management and maintenance costs to your property. We aim to keep your rent affordable and follow Welsh Government’s rent setting guidance.
I am claiming Universal Credit. What do I need to do?
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit it is very important for you to update your journal online with details of the rent increase. If you do not do this, you may not receive the housing costs that you are entitled to. Unfortunately, we are unable to do this for you.
I am claiming Housing Benefit. What do I need to do?
We will inform your local authority of your rent increase, who will then send you a letter advising of your new Housing Benefit entitlement. It is important that you check that these details are correct. However, some local authorities expect the customer to contact them to advise of their rent increase. Therefore, if you do not receive a letter then please contact your local authority to confirm that your Housing Benefit award has been increased in line with the rent increase.
I can’t afford the rent increase. What should I do?
Please contact us so that your Neighbourhood Income Coach or Housing Officer can speak with you to offer advice, support and guidance. If your finances have been affected by Covid-19 then please let us know, we are here to help.
My neighbours’ rent is higher/lower than my rent and we live in the same style accommodation. Why is this?
There are many factors that determine rent charges, one of which can be your tenancy start date and the policy at the time that you signed your tenancy agreement. It is very unlikely that your rent has been calculated incorrectly.
I don’t agree with my service charge. What should I do?
Service charges are calculated separately to rent, although they are part of your total rent charge. The service charge is a payment made towards the cost of services and repairs beyond those specifically for the accommodation that you live in. For example, the maintenance and cleaning of a communal area. If you have a query regarding your service charge or would like a breakdown of these, please contact us.
I currently pay my rent by Direct Debit. How do I change the amount paid to include the rent increase?
Your Neighbourhood Income Coach or Housing Officer is able to change your Direct Debit amount for you.
I currently pay my rent by standing order. How do I change the amount paid to include the rent increase?
You will need to amend your standing order by contacting your bank. You can do this online if you have online banking. Unfortunately, we are unable to do this for you.