Owen Henry House

Rent increase 2022-2023 explained - FAQs

As part of our 'notice of rent change' for 2022-2023 and to help explain the rent increase , we've put together these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

If you are a resident of Brighter Places you have been sent a letter in the post from us giving you notice of your rent change from April 2022 to March 2023.

Every year we review the level of your rent in line with government policy.  This letter outlines the change to your rent payable from April 2022 and any action that you need to take. 

The rent charge is separate to payment for service charges (if a service charge applies to you.)  This will be clearly detailed in the letter.

If you have any questions you think we should add to this list, please get in touch with us.  Email: communications@brighterplaces.co.uk

 

Find out more about your rent change 2022-23

  • Why is this increase bigger than it has been for the last 5 years?

    Social housing providers like us set our rent in line with a formula agreed by the government.

    The government sets the limits for our rent increases based on inflation levels.   The consumer price index (CPI) measures inflation – how much the prices of everyday goods, services and household bills have gone up compared to the previous year.

    This year, inflation is very high.  It is the highest it has been since 2011, and is still rising.  In September 2021 inflation was 3.1%, and in January 2022 it had risen to 5.5%.

    This year the government formula allows us to increase rents by up to 4.1%.  This is equivalent to the  inflation rate in September plus 1%.

    Before setting the rent for 2022-23, we looked very closely at all options and consulted with our engagement panel and board.   It was agreed that charging a 4.1% increase was the only option to maintain our service to customers and to continue to build new homes.

  • Why do you have to raise my rent?

    Every year we review the level of your rent in line with Government policy.  The government formula based on inflation rates, allows us to increase rents by up to 4.1% this year.

    Before setting the rent for 2022-23, we looked very closely at all options and consulted with our engagement panel and board.

    During this process we looked at the option of cutting costs but this would have meant reducing valued services, like our improvements to homes.

    For example, if we had raised our rent by 3.1% instead of 4.1%, this could have meant 40 bathrooms not being replaced next year and in every year after that.

    It was agreed that charging a 4.1% increase was the only option in order to to maintain our service to customers.

  • Who approves the rent increase and can I appeal against it?

    The Brighter Places board approves the rent increase.

    If you have been a resident for over a year, you can feedback your concerns.  Please fill out our feedback form below.  This will be followed up as part of our feedback process.

     https://www.brighterplaces.co.uk/feedback/

    If you have been a resident for under a year, you can appeal.  With your ‘notice of rent change – 2022-2023’ letter we enclosed a form – Form 4B.  This explains how you can appeal against the rent increase.

    If you want to appeal, you’ll need to do so before the increase takes effect.  This is 1 April if you pay your rent monthly and 4 April if you pay your rent weekly.

     

  • How do I get my housing benefit changed?

    If housing benefit is paid directly to Brighter Places, you do not need to do anything.  We will let your housing benefit team know.   

    If housing benefit is paid to you, you need to let your local housing benefit team know. 

    They will usually ask you to notify them of a ‘change of circumstance’ and ask for a copy of the rent notification letter.  Please give them as much notice as you can as all councils are telling us that they are currently receiving a high volume of calls.     

    Bristol 

    https://www.bristol.gov.uk/changes-of-circumstance    

    Call 0117 922 2300, Mon to Fri 8.30am – 6.00pm.   Closed Wed 12.00-1.30pm.   

    Currently quoting 14 days for a response to a change of circumstance notification.    

    South Gloucestershire 

    Call 01454 868002 

    The council also has public offices at Kingswood, Yate and Patchway where you can hand in forms or speak to someone if you need help. 

    Swindon 

    https://www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20013/benefits_and_swindon_money_matters/121/change_of_circumstances 

    Call 0345 3022316 

    Bath & North East Somerset 

    https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/manage-your-benefits-claim-online 

    BANES usually want customers to manage their housing benefits online.   If you cannot do that, you can call 01225 477777. 

  • How do I get my Universal Credit changed?

    Universal Credit will add a ‘Confirm your housing costs’ in your ‘to-do’ section of your Universal Credit account on:

    • 1 April 2022 for those that are charged rent/services monthly
    • 4 April 2022 for all other rent/service charge frequencies (such as weekly).

    Universal Credit will ask you to complete the ‘to do’ item at the end of their current assessment period, to ensure they get the correct housing payment.

    The ‘Confirm your housing costs’ item will not show before the above dates.

    You must complete the ‘to do’ before the end of your Universal Credit assessment period in April 2022 or you will miss out on the money you are due.

    How will this look?

    On the day of the change (1 or 4 April 2022), you will get notifications in your ‘to do’ section of the Universal Credit.

    You will be asked similar questions to those shown below.

    Note – If you do not pay service charges, type £00.00.

    Change of circumstances 

    There’s no need to update your rent through the ‘change of circumstance’ facility – just complete the ‘to do’ item as above.

    The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) encourages everyone to use their online services. You can log in here:

    https://www.gov.uk/sign-in-universal-credit

    Or you can call their helpline: 0800 328 5644

  • How do I change my standing order?

    You can change your standing order by phoning your bank, visiting a branch or going online.  Please let them know as soon as you can, please give them at least 10 days notice.

    We can’t change your standing order.  However, if you change your payment method to pay by direct debit instead, we could do this automatically each year for you.

    You can find out more about paying by direct debit here on our website. https://www.brighterplaces.co.uk/direct-debit/

     

  • Is there anywhere I can get financial help and support?

    We understand that this is a difficult time and that you are also experiencing increases in living costs due to higher inflation.

    To help you manage this, we have enclosed leaflet with your ‘notice of rent change – 2022-2023’ letter which offers some options for support and advice.  There is information to help you with budgeting, benefits, managing debt, employment and keeping track of your energy costs.

    You can also get free, confidential advice on how to manage debt from:

    National Debtline - call 0808 808 4000 or visit nationaldebtline.org

    Debt-free South West – call 0800 138 3422

    Step Change - call 0800 138 111 or visit stepchange.org

    Money Advice Service - call 0800 138 7777 or visit moneyadviceservice.org.uk

    Money Helper – adviser.moneyhelperorg.uk/en

    Citizens Advice - call 0300 330 1313 or visit citizensadvice.org.uk

    Talking money – Call 0800 121 4511  or visit talkingmoney.org.uk

    And you can check your entitlement to benefits at:

    Turn2us – visit turn2us.org.uk

    entiltedto – visit entitledto.co.uk

    If you want to discuss your future rent payments with us, please call 0117 942 4600 or email info@brighterplaces.co.uk and we will put you in touch with an income officer.