Rent and service charge FAQs
How can I see my rent statement and know how much I need to pay?
The easiest way to see your rent statement is online through your MyAccount. Your MyAccount can be accessed 24/7 and enables you to report and view your repairs, see your rent statement, make payments and check the information that we hold on you is accurate. You can set your MyAccount up here.
Alternatively, you can request a statement by using the online form Contact Us.
How much are my monthly charges from July 2023?
Your new amounts for July will be sent to you by letter at the end of May 2023.
You can double check the amounts you are due to pay throughout the year in your MyAccount.
Will the payments I make be increased automatically to reflect the new charges?
Yes, we will amend your Direct Debit to ensure that you are paying the correct amount from July 2022.
Why hasn’t my direct debit been increased to reflect the new charges?
Your direct debit will be adjusted in line with any changes to your charges in July 2023.
If this has not happened, please contact us so that we can look into this for you.
What services do I get for my service charge?
The specific things that you pay for within your service charge will vary depending on the scheme that you live on.
Full details of what you pay for can be found in your service charge account, listed alphabetically at Service Charges.
Why is the rent/service charge increase so high?
Our rent increase is limited by a calculation that is set by central government.
This is based on consumer price index + 1%.
As inflation has been increasing for some time, the increase we are limited to is 7% for general needs and 11.1% for OPS and supported, the reason there is a difference is due to higher costs related to those scheme.
We understand that these increases are high, however as a business our costs have also risen. This increase will allow us to continue to provide the services that you require from us, as well as maintain and invest in your home.
Do I need to inform Housing Benefit/Universal Credit of any rent/service charge increase?
If you receive Universal Credit, you need to notify the DWP using your online journal. You should do this on or just after the date that your charges change.
If you are receiving Housing Benefit, we would advise you to contact your council to inform them of the change to your charges. Westward will also advise the council of your change.
Why are you asking me to make a small payment when Housing Benefit and Universal Credit pay my rent direct to you?
Housing Benefit and Universal Credit are both set up in a way that means that any money that we are paid is in arrears. This means that if we receive a payment on 20th May, this will cover a period of 4 weeks or a month prior to this date.
If you have a monthly tenancy with us, your rent is charged on the first of each month and if we don’t receive a payment towards your account until the 20th of each month, this will mean that your account could be in arrears for the first 20 days of the month.
If this happens, we find that often the easiest way of resolving this is by making a regular small payment towards your account so that you gradually reduce this balance.
How do I work out my rent monthly if I’m on a weekly payment and how do I calculate my shortfall if I am on benefits?
If you are on a monthly rent, your weekly charge can be calculated by multiplying your monthly rent by 12 and then dividing it by 52.
If you are on a weekly rent, your monthly charge can be calculated by multiplying your weekly rent by 52 and then dividing by 12.
Before you make any changes to the frequencies you pay to us, you should be sure that you will not fall into arrears as a result.
It may be worth contacting us so that we can check if any changes to your payment frequency may mean you fall into arrears with us.
I've always paid my rent after the 1st of each month on a regular date, why are you now saying I'm in arrears and chasing me each month?
If you have a monthly tenancy with us, your agreement will state that your rent is due on the first day of the month in advance. This means that your rent for the whole month of May is due on 1st May. If you pay your rent after the first of each month, the amount you pay needs to cover the rent for the following month. So for example, if you pay on the 20th of each month, the payment on 20th May should cover your rent for June.
Similarly, if you have a weekly tenancy with us, your rent for the whole week is due on the Monday of each week.
If the amounts you pay are not covering your rent in advance, we may contact you to discuss this.
When we call you, we will discuss the best way for you to bring your account into advance payments, often this will mean adding a small additional amount to the payments that you are making so that you can gradually build up a credit on your account to ensure that payments you are making to us are for the month or week that is upcoming rather than the month or week that has just passed.
Why are we having a rent increase?
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
• ensures we provide high standards of customer care
• allows us to build more affordable housing
Our rent increase is limited by a calculation that is set by central government. This is based on consumer price index + 1%. As inflation has been increasing for some time, the increase we are limited to is 4.1%. This increase will allow us to continue to provide the services that you require from us.
Other charges included within your total charges (such as service charges) may have also increased and you can find out more information about these increases here:
I'm not paying my rent because Westward have not done 'XYZ'
We urge you to get in touch with us if you are there is an issue that you feel is not being resolved.
Our aim is to work with you to resolve the problem that you are facing.
If you feel that we have not taken action as should be expected, please use our complaints procedure so that this can be investigated and we will respond to you in full with our findings.
We strongly recommend that you do not withhold the rent that is due from you. Should you do this, we may consider taking action against you for any arrears that may accrue.
If arrears remain outstanding, this ultimately puts you at risk of enforcement action being taken against your tenancy.
What happens if I cannot afford the rent that I am charged?
We are here to help. Over the past year we have provided additional tenancy
support and financial advice to hundreds of our customers impacted by covid. We know that for some this is a difficult time, and we want to do what we can to continue to support customers.
We can 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 Household Support Fund.
If you have any concerns about how this change may affect you then please get in touch with us to see how we can help.
or call 0300 100 1010