Changes to Rent & Service charges

How your rent and service charges are calculated

Raven Housing Trust is a registered housing provider which means the way we set most rents is strictly regulated and follows a Government formula to limit increases. 

The Government formula is Inflation (Consumer price index or CPI) plus 1%. The inflation rate in September each year is used for the calculation. We are audited each year to make sure we are following the regulations properly. 

As well as this formula, there are caps, or maximum rents for each type of property and area. This means we do not charge more than the cap for your rent. Some rents are not part of the regulated rent standard and higher increases can be applied.  We will always try to keep increases as low as possible to remain affordable.

Depending on when your home was built and how it was funded, rents can vary from around 50-60% of local market rents, known as social rents, to around 80% of local market rents, known as affordable or sub-market rents. Your rent increase letter explains which type of rent you have.

If you are a shared owner, your rent is calculated differently, and this is set out in your lease.

Most tenancies are charged rent 52 weeks of the year.  Some homes originally transferred from Reigate and Banstead Borough council are charged for 48 weeks of the year and have 4 rent free weeks.  The total annual charge is the same for similar properties at social rents, just split over 48 instead of 52 weeks.  

The rent-free weeks over the next 12 months are:

  • w/c 22nd March 2021
  • w/c 29th March 2021
  • w/c 27th December 2021
  • w/c 3rd January 2022

2021 Rent change dates

•    Monthly tenancies: changes will apply from 1 April 2021,
•    Weekly tenancies: changes will apply from Monday 5 April 2021.

We need to give you 4 weeks or a month notice depending on your tenancy type and therefore letters are posted in late February to allow for this.

April 2021 rent calculations

Following 4 years of rent decrease by 1% from 2016-2019, we were able to increase rents in 2020 to cover increased costs.

This year’s rent increase is low because inflation is very low.  The September 2020 Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 0.5%.  Because the rent formula is CPI + 1%, this means most rents will increase by 1.5% from April 2021. 

If this increase means your rent would exceed the social rent cap for your home, the rent will be increased only up to the rent cap.  For some of you with higher rents (known as affordable rents), we have also chosen to cap the rent if it reaches the local housing allowance (LHA) (benefit limit for private tenancies) for your area to support keeping rents more affordable.

Some properties also have service charges.  For example, cleaning your block, lift maintenance or grounds maintenance.  What you pay for will be listed in your tenancy agreement.  These are fixed service charges and will generally be increased by the same amount as rent each year.

Some properties also have other charges that change to reflect actual costs. For example, if you live in a sheltered housing scheme or temporary accommodation scheme where heating charges are included, the cost will be based on use and may go up or down.

Getting help with your rent

We understand that things happen and sometimes you need support and flexibility with paying your rent. Our team of Income officers can talk to you about your circumstances and set up a flexible payment plan to get you back on track. 

Universal Credit & Housing Benefit

If you receive benefits to help towards your rent, your entitlement may need to be updated.

If you receive Universal Credit, you can update your new charges on your online journal, you should receive a notification to ask you to do this.

If you receive Housing Benefit you need to inform your local authority of your new rent and service charge, unless you live in  Reigate and Banstead, as we inform them of the new charges. 

It could affect your entitlement if you do not submit new charges, so please let us know if you need help doing this.

If you think you may be entitled to some help towards your rent, get in touch, our Moneywise team can check for you.

Water Charges & other utilities

You need to pay your personal water charges and all other personal use utilities yourself unless these charges are included in your service charge.

Until March 2021, some customers in Reigate and Banstead paid water rates within their service charges.  From April 2021, this is changing, and you will need to pay SES Water (SESW) directly.  You will already have been written to by Raven and SESW if this applies to you.

The change has been reflected in your rent and service charges this year and water charges removed.  If you have any questions about your water charges, please contact Sutton & East Surrey Water on 01737 305850 or housingteam@seswater.co.uk.

For further information about changes to rent and service charges – click here for our FAQS or check out the links below:

Government guidance on rent setting:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-rents-for-social-housing

The government rent standard:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/781730/Direction_to_the_regulator.pdf