2020 rent rise: FAQ for residents

2020 rent rise: FAQ for residents
3rd February 2020 James Calnan

If you’re a Greenfields resident or shared owner, your rent will increase by 2.7% from 6 April, 2020. Please read our FAQs below, or download them here:

Q:        I’m a Greenfields tenant. What’s happening with my rent?

A:        From 6 April 2020, your rent will increase by 2.7%. You will receive your rent letter with full details from late February, but we wanted to give you the opportunity to plan future household budgets now.

If you receive full Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, your payments will be reassessed based on your new rent. You will need to update your local authority or Universal Credit journal, and we’ve provided further details later in this FAQ.

If you’re worried that you will not be able to pay rent, then we offer a range of support including financial advice and a service which ensures you receive the benefits you entitled to. Simply email csc@greenfieldsch.org.uk or call 01376 535400 and we will help.

Q:        Why has my rent gone up?

A:        For the last four years, your rent has been reduced by 1% each year in line with government policy. During this period, we have made savings while ensuring we still provide you with good services.

However, every year inflation changes, and this means the cost of providing services such as repairs and maintenance changes. Government policy now allows housing associations to increase rent by a limited amount over inflation, and most of this increase will cover this.

The rest will go towards our investment plans, including in new services and improvements to your home. This includes replacing approximately 300 heating systems, 80 bathrooms, 60 kitchens and 750 front doors. We plan to carry out 150 rewires and spend £430,000 on aids and adaptations to help you stay independent in your home. We also plan to invest more than £100,000 in our communities and build approximately 220 new homes in mid and north Essex for those who need them.

Q:        I am a Greenfields shared owner. What’s happening with my rent?

A:        Your rent will go up by 2.7%.

Q:        I pay service charges. Are these affected?

A:        You will receive information about your service charges in your rent letter in a few weeks. They are intended to cover the cost of providing these services, and Greenfields does not make a profit on them.

Q:        Is anyone consulted about these changes?

A:        Yes. The Community Gateway Group, led by residents, have voted in favour of the increase. The Board has also supported the decision.

Q:        When are the rent-free weeks?

21 December 2020                        28 December 2020

22 March 2021                               29 March 2021

What should I do if…

I receive housing benefit?

If your Housing Benefit is paid direct to Greenfields, we will notify your local authority of the new charges. If your Housing Benefit is paid directly to yourself or you have only recently requested for it to be paid to us, please supply a copy of your increase letter to your local authority.

I receive Universal Credit?

Your rent letter will include your new payments in the appendix at the end. You will receive a task on your journal on 1 April to update your housing costs. As your rent free week runs until 5 April, please wait until Monday, 6 April before updating them. This will not affect existing payments or put a hold on anything regarding your ongoing claim. Updating your housing costs means your housing costs element will be updated for your next monthly assessment period.

I pay by direct debit?

We will recalculate your payments based on your new rent and send you a letter confirming the amount at least two weeks before we collect the payment from your bank account. Your Direct Debit is calculated for the whole financial year and includes the Rent Free weeks.

I pay monthly and don’t know how much to pay?

We will help you calculate the payments. Please send a message on My Greenfields or email csc@greenfieldsch.org.uk to confirm the payments. Alternatively, call 01376 535400 and ask to speak to your Income Advisor. Rent free weeks will be included, so please don’t reduce them in December and March.

I pay by standing order?

Please advise your bank to amend your payments to cover the change in your charges. We cannot do this for you – we do not have access to your bank account.

I’m in rent arrears during a rent-free week?

If you have rent arrears, please continue to make payments to reduce that amount.

I want to keep track of my charges and payments?

You can sign up or log onto My Greenfields. Here, you can view your rent statements and make payments. You can also message us, book repairs and change your personal details. Just visit my.greenfieldsch.org.uk to register or log in.