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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Incommunities tenants set to pay 4.1% rent increase from next week

Tenants are expected to pay an extra £3.49 per week in rent.

The largest social landlord in the district has announced rent and service increases from next week.

Every Incommunities tenant will have to pay an extra 4.1% for their housing which takes effect from 4 April.

Some customers may also have to pay 3.1% extra in service charges.

This comes at a time when rising inflation and increases in taxes, bills, and food are set to leave thousands in the district worse off this year.

In 2003, Bradford Council houses were transferred to Incommunities, formerly Bradford Community Housing Trust.

Incommunities is the major social housing provider in Bradford, managing almost 22,500 houses, flats, and sheltered housing in the district.

Rent levels for social housing are guided by the Government. The Government changed its rent policy in April 2020, allowing housing associations to increase rents by a maximum of the rate of inflation for September plus 1%.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is used to calculate inflation. The CPI figure in September 2021 was 3.1%, meaning the rent increase will be by a maximum of 4.1% – 3.1% CPI, plus 1%.

Data from the Regulator of Social Housing published in October found that the average social rent in Bradford was £85.11 per week, or £340.44 per month, last year.

This means renters can now expect to pay around £88.59 per week or £354.36, per month, an increase of £3.49 per week or £13.96 per month, on average.

Service charges are not governed in the same way as rent, as housing associations such as Incommunities base their charges on the “actual cost of providing the service”.

Tenants who pay a service charge can expect to pay “no more” than 3.1% extra. Services covered by service charges could include:

• Cleaning communal areas and removing dumped rubbish
• Cutting communal grassed areas, looking after planted areas and tree maintenance
• Repairs to communal facilities such as door entry systems, lifts, television aerials and lighting
• Providing firefighting equipment, including repairing and testing emergency lighting and smoke alarms
• Providing water, electricity, and gas supplies to communal areas

A spokesperson for Incommunities said: “Like all social housing landlords in the country, we must comply with the government’s Rent Standard.

“Since April 2020 this determines rents may increase every year until March 2025 by 1% plus the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which means the increase this year will be by 4.1%. For our customers, the average increase in rent and service charges is £3.18 a week. The legislation also meant between April 2015 and March 2020 rents decreased by 1% each year.

“Any surplus from rent and new home sales is reinvested into maintaining homes, delivering new properties and improving services, and all social housing providers must meet the Value for Money Standard set by the regulator.

“We understand rising living and energy costs mean this is a difficult time for many and want to ensure customers are aware of the support available.

“Anyone worried about being able to pay their rent or other bills should let us know as soon as possible. Our Money Matters team are here to help with budgeting, income maximisation, applying for welfare benefits, and signposting to other useful organisations and charities.”

If you need help or advice with money, you can access free independent money services here: 


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