How we set your rent and service charges

How we set your rent and service charges for 2017-18

For further information about rent and service charges, please contact your local office. 

 

Rent Standards
The Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) wants to make sure that all Registered Providers and local authorities set their rents in the same way and that all rents are affordable and fair for customers. The HCA has clear guidelines, which all social housing landlords must follow.

How is my rent calculated?
Gentoo set the rent and service charges yearly and review them every April.
The Chancellor’s Summer Budget of June 2015 set out that social housing rents would reduce by 1% every year for the next 4 years, this started in April 2016. In January 2016, the Government announced a one year exemption for supported housing. This meant that supported housing rents increased by Consumer Price Index (CPI) +1%. This year the exemption no longer applies and supported housing rents will reduce by 1%.

Gentoo will continue to set your rent in line with Government guidelines, as set out in the Rent Standard Guidance.

 

 

Yes. If you are receiving welfare benefits or have a low income, you may be entitled to financial help with your housing costs. To find out if you can get help with your rent and Council Tax visit sunderland.gov.uk where you can make a claim online, or find out what you are entitled to by using the online benefits calculator.

Alternatively, for advice, you can contact Sunderland City Council on 0191 520 5551. Do not delay in applying as housing benefit cannot normally be backdated. Even if you are not sure if you will qualify, you should still make a claim for housing benefit.

If you are single and making a new claim you will need to apply for Universal Credit.

For further information visit gov.uk/apply-universal credit or contact our Money Matters Team on 0300 123 2004* or
at communications@gentoogroup.com.

Rent Assessment Committee (Property Chamber)
If you think your rent or service charge is too high you can appeal to an independent Rent Assessment Committee (part of The Property Chamber). The committee will compare rents and service charges for similar homes in your area. If they think your rent or service charge is too high it will instruct Gentoo to reduce it. However, the Committee may agree that your rent and service charge is right or even set a higher one.

The Committee can be contacted at:

Residential Property
(The Property Chamber)
1st Floor
Piccadilly Exchange
Piccadilly Plaza
Manchester
M1 4AH
0161 237 9491
Rpnorthern@
hmcts.gsi.gov.uk
Gov.uk
(Search ‘Residential Property Tribunal’)

Homes & Communities Agency
The Homes & Communities
Agency (HCA) is a
Non-Departmental Public
Body. The role of the HCA
is to regulate Registered
Providers in England.
0300 1234 500
homesandcommunities.co.uk

 

If you are having difficulty paying your rent, contact your Neighbourhood Coordinator straight away. Don’t wait until it is too late. It is easier to clear a small debt than a large one. We will give you every opportunity to come to an arrangement to pay back any rent you owe. We have a reminder system which will tell us if you miss your rent
payments. If you continually fail to pay your rent, we will apply to the County Court to take possession of your home, and may eventually evict you.

If you need help to manage your money, contact our Money Matter's Team.

Gentoo's Money Matters Team work with a wide range of partners to offer practical tips, advice and information to help you make the most of your money including:

  • Benefit checks, claims and appeal support
  • Debt advice, support and solutions
  • Help opening a bank account and setting up direct debits
  • Budgeting support, advice and information
  • Energy saving advice (fuel bills usage)
  • Help to access fuel switching services

For support and advice, contact the Money Matters Team on 0300 123 2004* or email moneymatters@gentoogroup.com

Gentoo set rents and service charges yearly and review them every April.

Service charges
A service charge recovers the cost of services such as cleaning and caretaking to the communal parts of a building. We separately identify services which benefit specific properties and apply charges for these services, which are known as ‘service charges’.

Service charges affect those people living in multi-storey or low rise apartments, bungalows, extra care and sheltered schemes where there are a number of services which are shared and used by customers. For example, caretaking, cleaning, communal electricity and security services such as CCTV and door entry monitoring. However, not all customers living in these types of properties will pay a service charge.

If you are required to pay a service charge, you will receive a separate statement with this factsheet showing what is included within the total charge. Water rates are shown separately to rent and service charges.

How is my service charge calculated?
Before the beginning of the financial year, we will calculate how much you need to pay towards the cost of your service charge, and this cost will be based on known and future expenditure, past costs and our experience when administering other schemes. The items covered by the service charge will vary depending upon the type of property you live in. Before the start of the financial year, (which runs from April to March), we will send you a statement of the proposed charge broken down under various headings. If you have any queries about the statement, you can contact us on 0191 525 5000.

What services are included?
If you live in a multi-storey apartment (4 or more floors), low rise apartment, extra care or sheltered accommodation, the following services may be included:

  • Caretaking, cleaning and grounds maintenance
  • Communal laundry
  • Energy costs to communal areas and your property
  • Furniture and maintenance equipment
  • Communal telecoms
  • Window cleaning
  • Security

As well as this, some bungalows have cleaning and energy costs for their entrance areas included in their service charge. Most of the above services are eligible for housing benefit.

Any charges which you may currently pay towards heating and electricity within your home are not housing benefit eligible.