Here are some frequently answered questions, to help customers understand how our rents are set.

How are social rents set?

Rents are calculated using Government guidelines, which take into consideration the size, location and value of the property.

Rents are reviewed and set at the beginning of each year, and changes are usually applied from the first Monday of April each year. We will notify customers of any changes to rent in writing, providing at least four weeks’ notice.

What does the rent pay for?

Rent covers Pine Court Housing Associations’s costs, including mortgages, management and maintenance costs for the property.

Rent can be paid and the balance can be checked online, or can be paid using other methods available. It is important that customers maintain rent payments or they may lose their home.

In addition to paying rent, customers may be required to pay service charges, to cover additional services such as communal cleaning, security (door entry and CCTV) and digital aerial services. Further details about service charges and how they are set can be found below.

What factors are taken into account when setting rents?

All social landlords set their rents using a single government formula. The formula sets a target rent level for each property based on its value, the number of bedrooms and local earnings. This is to ensure that the rent is affordable.

Will rents increase or decrease?

From April 2016, rents should reduce by 1% per annum until April 2019*.

This applies in the majority of cases, but specifically excludes specialist supported accommodation, as well as market rented, intermediate rented and shared ownership homes.

*rent could increase for customers who live in specialist supported accommodation and/or receive additional services which are covered by a separate service charge. If so, customer will be notified of this increase at least four weeks before the rent is due to change.

Fair Rents

Those who have a secure tenancy (pre 15 January 1989) are likely to be paying a fair rent, which is set and registered every two years by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). Once the rent is registered, this is the maximum amount that we can charge until it’s reviewed or cancelled.

A fair rent is generally much lower than the market rent for a similar tenancy.

From 2016 to April 2019 we will review rents annually, and if applicable we will reduce your rent by 1% per annum. We will notify customers of any changes to rent in writing, providing at least four weeks’ notice.

Affordable Rents

Affordable rents are set at no more than 80% of market rent value (inclusive of service charges) at the time the property was first let. This rent is generally applied to recently built homes. Where an affordable rent is valued above the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate and where local market conditions demonstrate demand, we reserve the right to set the rent above the LHA rate.

What is a service charge?

Service charges are the contribution towards the cost of additional services which are beyond the benefit of occupying your home.

Service charges can include the provision of security (including door entry and CCTV), communal cleaning, heating and lighting in communal areas, as well as grounds maintenance and other services.

Service charge amounts will reflect the actual cost that Pine Court Housing Association pays to deliver and administer these additional services.

What factors are taken into account when setting my service charge?

For customers who are required to pay a service charge, their tenancy agreement will summarise how we will consult with them and notify of any changes to services and costs. This notification will normally be at the same time that we inform of any changes to rent.

Service charges depend on the specific tenancy agreement, location, and the cost of providing the additional services.