Your rent and service charges explained & how to pay

Your rent and service charges
explained & how to pay
A fresh approach to people, homes and communities
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
This leaflet gives you important information about the rent and
other charges you pay us for living in your home.
What is rent?
Rent is the payment you make to us for living in your home.
The total rent is made up of net rent and, in some cases,
extra charges.
Net rent
This is the largest part of your total rent and is the amount
you pay us for living in your property. We assess your rent in
line with guidance from the Government.
Extra charges
Some properties have services or facilities that we charge
extra for. The extra charge could be for any of the following.
2
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
• Heating and hot water – some of our properties have a
shared heating system where the heating and hot water
comes from a central boiler. If you have shared heating we
charge a fixed amount each week for this.
• Water charges – some tenants (usually in sheltered housing
schemes) pay water rates with their rent. We pass the
payment to the water authority.
• Charges for services – in sheltered housing schemes we
make a weekly charge for any property where a warden
and alarm service are provided under your tenancy.
We will tell you about the charges when we offer you a
property and when you sign your tenancy agreement.
In February each year we will tell you about any increases
to any extra charges that you pay with your rent. The new
amount will be due from April.
How we work out the rent for your home
The Government sets out how all councils and housing
associations work out rent. The aim is that eventually, rents for
similar homes in the same area will be comparable, no
matter whether the landlord is a council or a housing
association. This is known as the 'target rent'.
The Government says that councils should be charging the full
target rent for each of their properties by April 2023.
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
3
We work out your rent by using the Government formula,
based on the national average rent of £78.36 and taking
account of:
• the number of bedrooms in your home;
• the average wage in South Yorkshire; and
• the value of your home, as set in 1999 by independent
valuers.
70% of your rent will be based on the number of bedrooms
in your home and the average wage in South Yorkshire, and
30% will be based on the value of your home.
If you want details of the formula, just call 01226 774613,
01226 774631 or 01226 774685.
Can I appeal against the amount of rent you
charge me?
Yes, you can appeal by:
• visiting your nearest Barnsley Connects office;
• ringing Barnsley Connects on 01226 775555;
• writing to us at Berneslai Homes, Rents, PO Box 627,
Barnsley, S70 9FZ; or
• sending an email to [email protected]
Your appeal must be against the way we have worked out
your rent and not, for example, about any repair work or
Housing Benefit. If you appeal, you must continue to pay
your rent while we consider your appeal. If your appeal
is successful we will refund any rent you have overpaid since
the date of your appeal.
4
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
If we do not agree with your appeal we will ask the District
Valuation Officer to review the rent we charge. However, this
valuation may be higher and we would then have to
increase your rent further.
How do I know what to pay?
We increase your rent once a year. In February each year
we will tell you what your rent is for the coming year. You will
pay this new amount from April. We will send you a rent
statement every six months, so you can keep an eye on how
much rent you're paying.
When do I pay?
Rent becomes due every Monday, to cover the previous
week. However, you can choose to pay your rent every
week, every two weeks or every month.
We charge you rent for 48 weeks each year. Every seven
years, you will pay rent for 49 weeks of the year.
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
5
When we work out your rent, this is for a full 52 weeks.
We then work out how much you will pay for 48 weeks.
For example: £51.86 x 52 = £2696.72 divided by 48 =
£56.18. This is the amount you pay so you get four weeks a
year with no rent charged.
These are called 'rent-free weeks' and they are at the
beginning of April, August Bank holiday, Christmas and New
Year.
To keep your rent up to date, you should always pay it in the
week it is due.
How can I pay my rent?
As we have said, you can pay your rent every week, every
two weeks or every month. We will only let you pay every
month if you keep your rent up to date. If you pay every
month, the payment will be for the coming two weeks and
the two weeks that have just passed.
Direct debit
This is the most convenient way to pay. You
can pay direct debits every week, every
two weeks or once a month, on any date you choose. To set
up a direct debit, phone the Rents Team on
01226 774613, 01226 774631 or 01226 774685.
Make sure you have your bank account details when you
phone, or you can fill in the form attached to this leaflet and
send it to us.
6
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
Standing order
You would need to check whether you can pay standing
orders from your account. If you can, phone the Rents Team
on 01226 774613, 01226 774631 or 01226 774685.
They will give you the information you need to set this up
with your bank.
Swipe card
This is a payment card with a unique
identification number. It is small enough
to keep in your purse or wallet. You can
only make rent payments with this card. You cannot use it to
make payments to any other company. This card allows you
to pay:
• by cash, cheque or debit card at any post office; or
• by cash at any outlet displaying a Pay Point sign.
Just take your payment and swipe card to the counter. You
will be given a printed receipt as proof of your payment.
Your payment will be credited to your account within two
working days.
Pay online
You can pay by debit card by visiting our
website at www.berneslaihomes.co.uk.
This service is available seven days a week,
24 hours a day.
We do not accept credit card payments.
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
7
By phone
You can call the automated service seven days a
week, 24 hours a day, on 01226 779397.
Please make sure you have your rent reference
number and debit card details to hand.
Direct from your salary
Employees of Berneslai Homes or Barnsley MBC can have
their rent paid straight from their salary. You will need to
contact payroll and tell them your rent reference number, the
amount to be paid and your payroll number.
You should never send cash through the post or drop it through
the letterbox at a local Barnsley Connects office. We will not be
responsible if your cash gets lost.
8
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
Can I get help towards my rent and council
tax?
You need to fill in a claim form for Housing Benefit, Council
Tax Benefit and Second Adult Rebate. You can get a form
from any Barnsley Connects office or by phoning
01226 775555.
When you have filled in the form, take it to your local
Barnsley Connects office along with two forms of ID and proof
of all your income. Staff at the Barnsley Connects office can
help you fill in the form if necessary.
If you want an explanation of how your benefit is worked
out, you can ring Barnsley Council's benefit department on
01226 774743, or visit a Barnsley Connects office.
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
9
If the benefit department cannot help you with your query
straight away, they will arrange an appointment for you to
see a Benefits Officer at your local Connects office.
If you are waiting to hear about the claim you have made for
benefit, you can help by making sure the benefits department
have all the information they need to process your claim.
What will happen if I fall behind with my rent?
It is important that you pay your rent on time. If you have
difficulty paying your rent, it is better for you to tell us as soon
as you can.
We promise to listen and we will help you pay what you
owe, if we can, by:
• making sure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled
to;
• offering you advice on how to budget and prioritise your
debts; and
• making a sensible, affordable repayment plan so that you
can repay what you owe.
Will you remind me if I do not pay?
Yes, we start to take action once you get two weeks behind
with your rent. If you pay every month, we take action after
you have missed one payment.
10
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
We will contact you either by writing to you, phoning you,
sending you a text message or visiting you in your home, to
agree a way for you to pay what you owe.
If you do not contact us, or do not make regular payments to
pay the rent you owe, we will take legal action against you.
This could lead to you losing your home.
The first stage of legal action is us giving you a Notice
of Seeking Possession (NoSP) or, if you are an introductory
tenant, a Notice of Possession Proceedings (NoPP).
This means we are taking action to take back your home.
If you still do not bring your rent up to date, we will ask the
court to make a decision about your tenancy. If we take you
to court you will have to pay the court costs, which are
usually several hundred pounds. If the judge agrees with us
and you do not pay us what you owe, you will lose your home.
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
11
How you can help us
When you contact us, you need to tell us your rent reference
number. If you cannot give us this information we may not be
able to help you. This is because we have to follow data
protection rules and we can only discuss your account with
you. Giving us your reference number helps us identify who
you are.
If you need to talk to us about a relative’s rent account, they
will have to contact us to give us their permission to let us talk
to you.
We may need to contact you about your rent account, so try
to keep us up to date with your details and phone number.
Contact us
If you have any questions or concerns about paying your rent,
phone our Rents Team on 01226 774613, 01226 774631
or 01226 774685.
Or you can email the team at
[email protected]
Leaflet designed in consultation with the Federation of Tenants & Residents Association.
12
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
To pay your rent by direct debit please phone
01226 774613, 774631, 774685, or fill in this form
and send it to:
Berneslai Homes
Rents Team
PO Box 627
Barnsley
S70 9FZ.
Please fill in this form with a ballpoint pen.
Your details
Your full name:
Your address:
Your phone numbers:
Home:
Mobile:
Your rent reference number:
w ww ww . wb .ebr en rens el sa li ah iohmo ems e. sc .oc. ou .ku k
7
Your bank details
The name of account holder:
Your bank or building society account number:
Your branch sort code:
The name of your bank:
The address of your bank:
The date you prefer to pay:
(please tick one only)
Monthly on
each month
Fortnightly on
day of each fortnight
Weekly on
day of each week
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
Your rent & service charges new.qxd:Your rent 1008
9/2/12
10:00
Page 16
A fresh approach to people, homes and communities
This leaflet provides information about the rent you pay and other charges that we may charge.
This also provides information on how to pay your rent and any support available.
If you need help understanding this information,
please call Customer Services on 01226 775555.
ese jobs
n:
who will work
management
If you are on our getting involved mailing
list we will contact you.
InBerneslai
‘Open House’,
our tenants’
Homes
Limitednewsletter.
is a company controlled by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.
At
meetings, registered
conferences and
events. and Wales, number 4548803. Registered Office: 10th
bytenants
guarantee,
in England
On our website at
Off
Sackville
Street
BARNSLEY,
South Yorkshire S70 2RD. www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk.
A fresh approach to people, homes and communities
ency.
How to contact us about getting involved?
homes and be
orks with the
o the local
esentatives can
e.
If you would like more information about how
you can get involved, please contact our
Community Engagement Team in one of the
following ways.
manage
ging your estate,
out exactly what’s
best option for
are available.
ation about the
munities and
ome useful
site k/housing
of Tenant
ons (NFTMO) has
about existing
p a new one.
m
m
3
A company limited
floor, Gateway Plaza,
01226 775555
Phone: 01226 772727
Email: communityengagement
@berneslaihomes.co.uk
Post: Gateway Plaza, P.O. Box 627,
Barnsley S70 9FZ
If you need help understanding this information,
please ask one of our staff or phone Customer
Services on 01226 772720.
01226 775555
Berneslai Homes Limited is a company controlled by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. A company limited
by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, number 4548803. Registered Office: 10th Floor, Gateway Plaza,
Off Sackville St., Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2RD. www.berneslaihomes.co.uk 01226 775555
01226 775555
For more information about the Barnsley
Federation of Tenants’ and Residents’, you
can contact the Federation Support Officer
in one of the following ways.
Phone: 01226 240110
Email: [email protected]
Post: 01226
Federation
Resource Centre
775555
Prospect Street, Barnsley, S70 2NR
01226 775555
01226 775555.
01226 775555.
different
nd what’s
ng involved.
ds to keep you
Like us on Facebook
October 2011
b e rnes l a i h o m e s . c o . u k
Follow us on Twitter
October 2011
9
w w w. berneslaihomes.co.uk
www.berneslaihomes.co.uk
Gett
Working
your hom