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Your rent is increasing

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Your rent will increase in April

Here’s what you need to know about the increase, why it’s happening, how it will affect you, and the help available if you’re struggling.

The rising cost of living is having an impact on everyone. Food, bills and petrol prices have all risen, and this is having a negative effect on people’s lives and businesses.

The cost of maintaining your homes and delivering services to you has risen in line with inflation, costing us more than it did in the previous year. Unfortunately, this means that we have no choice but to increase your rent from April 2023 so that we can continue to maintain your homes and deliver our objectives over the next 12 months.

Housing associations set their rent by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1%. The CPI in September 2022 was 10.1%. However, your rent won’t increase by this amount as the Government has set a rent cap of 7% for social housing tenants for 2023/24. This means that, for the vast majority of tenants, rents will increase by 7% from April 2023.

We will write to you by the end of February to let you know what your new rent will be, including any service charges that you might pay, but we wanted to let you know in advance so that you can prepare for the increase now.

We know this is currently a difficult time for many of you. If you're worried about paying your rent, we can help. Email myrent@southliverpoolhomes.co.uk or call us on 0330 303 3000 and choose option 2. We will do all we can to support you. We will put you in touch with your income officer, who will chat with you about your individual circumstances and put a plan together to help you stay in credit or help you reduce any existing arrears.

You can find more information about why your rent is going up, what your rent pays for, and the support that we offer to help you navigate the rise in the cost of living below.

We have a package of support to help you manage your bills and help make your money go further. Visit our cost of living webpage for more information.

We know this is a tough time, but please be assured that you are not alone. We will support you throughout to tackle the rising cost of living together.

Your rent increase explained

This section explains why your rent is going up, what your rent pays for and the support that we offer to help you navigate the rise in cost of living.

How much will it increase by?

Housing associations set their rent by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1%. The CPI in September 2022 was 10.1%. However, your rent won’t increase by this amount as the Government has set a rent cap of 7% for social housing tenants for 2023/24. This means that, for the vast majority of tenants, rents will increase by 7% from 3 April.

Example

If you live in a three-bedroom home and your rent is currently £95 per week, then your rent will increase to £101.65 per week from April 2023. A difference of £6.65 per week.

Example of what the 7% increase will look like for a typical three-bed home

Why are you increasing it?

Like all housing associations, we have given the rent increase a lot of consideration and have discussed the issue with our Board and tenant Scrutiny Panel. We need to increase your rent because the costs of delivering services to you has gone up in line with inflation. This includes the cost of materials for repairs and maintenance to your home.

If we didn’t put your rent up, then we simply wouldn’t have sufficient income to maintain your homes and provide services that we currently offer you. We might not be able to spend as much on making your homes more energy efficient, or we may need to reduce the scale of our improvement programme to your homes. We don’t think that’s fair.

 

What will you spend the rent on?

We are a not-for-profit organisation. This means that all rent and service charges are used to maintain your home, provide essential services and to build much-needed new homes in the area. We do not make any profit, it’s all invested back into your homes and community.

In 2023/2024 we plan to spend approximately £10 million on improving your homes. This includes repairs to your home, planned investment work like new kitchens and bathrooms and making your homes more energy efficient.

We also use your rent to provide community investment activities like our Benefits and Energy Advice Service, our employability hub Reach and our community shop, The Market Place.

A proportion of your rent pays for salaries and overheads. Employee salaries are tested against the local market so that they are fair and reflect the responsibilities that employees have in their day-to-day role.

Rent will also be spent on much-needed new homes and we have committed to building 280 new homes over the next five years. Although this is a relatively small development programme, the homes will meet the needs of people who are on our waiting list and will be confined to Speke and Garston. They will also help people move onto the property ladder by building a number of homes for shared ownership.

The graph below gives you an indication of what your rent will be spent on in 2023/24.

What support will SLH give me?

We have a package of support to help you manage your bills and help make your money go further.

Debt and budgeting advice

If you're struggling with debt, there are lots of ways we can support you. We can do a benefit check to see if you are getting what you're entitled to or refer you to specialist organisations to support you with debt and budgeting advice. If you are struggling with your rent payments, your income officer can help.

Save money on your weekly shop

Our community shop, The Market Place, is available to all SLH tenants, regardless of your income. Sign up to become a member where in exchange for £3.00 you will be able to choose goods to the approximate value of £15. Plus, there are lots of free good on offer too. We can also issue foodbank vouchers to tenants who are struggling.

Get support with your fuel bills

We can’t promise to reduce your fuel bills massively, but there are other ways we can support you. Our Benefits and Energy Advice Team can help you save energy around your home, let you know how to access emergency funding and grants and signpost you to ways your energy supplier can support you.

Visit our cost of living page to find out more about how we can support you.

What wider support is out there?

We know that any rent increase will be difficult for tenants, especially as it is a bigger increase than in previous years.

The majority of SLH tenants get their rent paid in part or in full via Housing Benefit/Universal Credit and from 1 April, benefits and pensions will rise in line with inflation at 10.1%. The National Living Wage is set to increase by 9.7%. There has also been extra Cost of Living Payments for people receiving benefits and pensions and there will be Government help with energy bills for people on low incomes after April 2023.

Although we know these payments won’t apply to everyone, these increases and extra support will hopefully go some way to help tenants with the rising cost of living.

For tenants who are not eligible to claim benefits, we understand that your salary may not increase in line with your rent increase. We know this is a tough time so please speak to us about the support and services we can offer you. Support services like our community shop, The Market Place, and our Benefits and Energy Advice service are available to everyone.

What do I do if I’m struggling to pay my rent?

Our priority is to support tenants to stay in their homes and manage their tenancies well. This means helping you to stay in credit or if you already owe us money, helping you to stop arrears increasing.

Please speak to us if you are struggling to pay by calling us on 0330 303 3000 and choose option 2 or email myrent@southliverpoolhomes.co.uk. We will do all we can to support you. We will put you in touch with your income officer who will chat to you about your individual circumstances and put a package of support together to help you stay in credit or help you reduce any existing arrears. They will also signpost you to our benefits and energy advice team who will help you make the most of your money.

It is really important that you engage with us so that you are not at risk of losing your home. Tenants won’t lose their home if they are speaking to us about their financial situation and are seeking support.

Where can I get independent debt advice?

If you find yourself struggling with debt, it's essential to get proper debt advice. All of the agencies below offer high-quality, free debt advice.

  • Citizens Advice - offers a drop-in service at Speke Library, Conleach Road, Speke, L24 0TY, Thursdays 10am – 2pm, 0300 330 1196.
  • Step Change – help people with debt problems take back control of their finances and their lives. In 2021 they helped over 24,000 get out of debt.
  • National Debtline – a charity that gives free and independent debt advice over the phone and online.
  • Payplan – offers free, simple debt advice to anyone who needs it.
  • Christians Against Poverty –  a charity that aims to transform lives and end UK poverty.
  • Moneyhelper is the government's money advice website which offers a free to use bill prioritiser.

What do I need to do next?

What you need to do depends on how you pay your rent. This might be through your Universal Credit, by Standing Order, Direct Debit or via Housing Benefit.

I receive Universal Credit

If you receive Universal Credit, it is your responsibility to notify the DWP of the changes to your rent and service charge if applicable.

To do this follow the instructions below:

1. Log in to your online Universal Credit account

2. Tap on the ‘To do’ button

3. Complete the ‘Confirm your housing costs’ (do not use the ‘change of circumstances' to report your rent increase)

If you don't do this, you will be underpaid your housing costs which will result in arrears on your rent account.

I pay by standing order

If you pay by standing order, you will need to contact your bank to change your standing order to reflect your new rent payments.

I pay by Direct Debit

If you pay by Direct Debit, we will amend it on your behalf. You will receive notification from AllPay to notify you of the change in payment.   

I receive Housing Benefit

If you receive Housing Benefit, you do not need to do anything as we will inform Liverpool City Council of the change.

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South Liverpool Homes Limited is a charitable Community Benefit Society registered with the Financial Conduct Authority No.31210R and registered with the Regulator of Social Housing L4230. Registered office as above.

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