In March each year, all Gentoo customers are notified of their rent and service charge levels for the coming year.
Customers who pay a service change will receive a separate statement showing a full breakdown of charges that apply to them.
For further information about rent and service charges, please contact your local office.
If you need support to help you manage your money contact the Money Matters Team.
The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) wants to make sure that all housing providers and local authorities set their rents in the same way and that all rents are affordable and fair for customers. The RSH has clear guidelines, which all social housing landlords must follow.
We set rents and service charges yearly and review them every April in line with Government guidelines, as set out in the Rent Standard Guidance.
The Chancellor’s summer Budget of June 2015 set out that social housing rents would reduce by 1% every year for the next four years, this started in 2016. This requirement also applies to properties let at affordable rent levels.
In addition, we calculate service charges every year based on past and future usage. These charges usually cover the costs of communal services used within a building or scheme.
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 having difficulty paying, contact your Neighbourhood Coordinator straightaway. They will give you every opportunity to come to an arrangement to pay back anything you owe. We have a reminder system which will tell us if you miss your payments. If you continually fail to pay, we will apply to the County Court to take possession of your home, and may eventually evict you.
If you are on low income, you may be entitled to help with your housing costs. To find out more visit www.sunderland.gov.uk where you can make a claim online, or find out what you are entitled to by using the online benefit calculator. Alternatively, for advice you can contact Sunderland City Council on 0191 520 5551 or visit your local Gentoo office to fill in an online form to see if you qualify.
Important: Please keep the letter with your new rent and service charge for 2018-19 safe as you may be asked to present it in support of a Housing Benefit/Universal Credit claim.
If you receive Housing Benefit, Sunderland City Council will amend your entitlement automatically when your rent amount changes.
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:
HM Courts and Tribunals Service
First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)
Residential Property 1st Floor Piccadilly Exchange,
Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester M1 4AH
0161 237 9491
www.gov.uk (Search `Residential Property Tribunal’)