Rent and charges
Rent and charges relating to your tenancy
Paying rent and charges for your home
We charge rent to enable us to deliver an efficient and effective service to customers and provide safe and secure homes.
Our rental income also helps us maintain and manage our homes by carrying out essential repairs and future improvements.
This year will see all rent change dates move to July and you can read more in News as well as in more detail below.
Rent change for July 2022
For the majority of our customers there will be a rent increase this July.
Housing associations are not-for-profit organisations and increasing rent is always a difficult but measured decision. The rent we receive is important as it is this income that enables us to:
- maintain your home
- provide high standards of customer care
- build more affordable housing
For all customers who rent their home from us, the amount that we are able to increase your rent by is controlled by a central government calculation which is based on September’s consumer price index + 1%. As the consumer price index (CPI) has been increasing, the increase we are limited to this year is 4.1%.
Depending on where you live and the type of tenancy that you have with us, you may also have other charges, such as service charges, that are included within the total amount that you pay to us.
You can view your estate service charge statement here if you search for your estate name in alphabetical order.
Who you may need to tell
- If you pay by Housing Benefit you must tell your local council of the changes
- If you receive Universal Credit, either paid directly to you or to Westward, you must update your online Universal Credit account. This must be done on or just after the date of the change as the system cannot process the change in advance and any delay may result in under or over payments, which will need to be corrected
- If you pay by direct debit, we will change your payments for you
- If you use any other method of payment, you will need to amend the amount you pay taking into account the change in your rent
Please talk to us if you are worried
We know that this rent change comes at an extremely difficult time for so many and that is why we are here to help.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we have taken an active role in supporting hundreds of our customers with a range of financial issues that they may be facing. We want to do what we can to continue to support you.
If you are struggling to afford your rent or have any concerns about how the change to your rent will impact you financially, please contact us as soon as possible.
- provide financial advice and support
- agree a personalised rent payment plan
- direct you to other agencies who may be able to help
- and, in some instances, may be able to offer immediate financial assistance through our Hardship Fund (opens in June)
If you have some debt to clear on your rent or charges, you can make an arrangement to pay an amount you can manage, regularly, until you have paid it off in full.Make or change an arrangement to pay
You have probably considered many options already but we urge you to read Money Advice & Help for ways that we and other organisations may be able to support you.
Still have an unanswered question - read on
Our Rent & Charges FAQ is based on what our customer hub advisors say they are most often asked, so you can find the answers to many commonly asked questions about rent change.
When is my rent due?
The majority of Westward tenancies require you to pay rent either weekly or monthly.
For weekly tenancies, the rent on your home is due on Monday in advance of the upcoming week.
For monthly tenancies, the rent on your home is due on the first day of the month in advance of the upcoming month.
Your tenancy agreement will state if your rent is charged weekly or monthly.
How is my rent calculated?
The rent that is charged on your home will depend on several factors that may include:
- The value of the property
- The number of bedrooms within the property
- The type of tenancy that you hold with us
- The area that the property is within
The different types of tenancy that we offer are as follows:
- Social Rented Tenancy - often referred to as ‘assured’ or ‘assured shorthold’. The rent for these properties was initially set taking into account the value of the property, number of bedrooms and local earnings. The amount that we can increase the rents each year for these properties is capped by the government to ensure that the rent that is charged is fair and consistent.
- Affordable & Intermediate Tenancy - the rent that we are able to charge for these tenancies is capped at 80% of the market within the local area.
- Secure Tenanciy - a very small number of customers have ‘secure’ or ‘protected’ tenancies. If this applies to you, your ‘fair rent’ is fixed by the independent 'rent service' every two years.
- Supported Housing Tenancy - this is where we let to support customers either under a licence, or, on an assured shorthold basis. The rent that is charged for these homes follows the same rules as our social rented tenancies.
What happens if things change and I can't pay?
The team at Westward are here to help as much as we can.
If you are aware that your rent account is in arrears and you have not set up an arrangement with us, it is now more important than ever that you contact us to discuss your situation.
There are many ways that we can help you to begin resolving the financial problems that you may be facing, but we are unable to do this without you speaking to us. We don't want you to lose your home and it's never too late to get in touch.
Your Westward Assurance is:
If you fall behind in your rent payments because your income has reduced, or because you have lost your job, as a result of the coronavirus you will not lose your home.
If you are having difficulty in paying your rent we ask that you contact us as soon as possible. We can have a member of our Financial Inclusion or Income team contact you to discuss if you are entitled to any further financial help and to set up an affordable payment plan that fits with your current circumstances. If you are a Support customer please arrange this through your Support Worker or Housing Worker.
We remain committed to doing everything we can to support our customers whose finances have been most affected by the pandemic.
So please call us on 0300 100 1010 or get in touch using this Contact Us form now.
Service Standards: Paying rent and service charges
- Tell you what you need to pay and offer you options of ways to pay rent and service charges.
- Contact you as soon as possible when we know that your payments are not up to date, setting out what you should do and by when.
- Offer to help you to maximise your income, reduce financial hardship and prevent you from becoming homeless.
- Make transparent the information about how we set rent and service charges.
- Offer you a personalised repayment plan taking into account your circumstances.
We ask you to:
- Pay rent and service charges in line with legal contracts, and any other recharges that are due.
- Tell us as soon as there are any changes in your circumstances or if you are not able to pay any charges due.
- Keep to agreed repayment plans to clear arrears.