Information about the Rent increase from 1 April 2015

In January each year, the Link Group Board meets to discuss and agree the rent increase for the following financial year.  The Rent Policy states that we will calculate the increase based on the December CPI figure + 1% or by 2% in total whichever is higher. This year’s CPI is 0.5%, therefore the basic rent increase this year will be 2.0%. 

Why do we have to increase your rent?

All Registered Social Landlords, Link included, must review the amount of rent they charge tenants each year. We do this as we have to take into account the increasing financial pressure that our tenants face in the current difficult economic climate, but we must also make sure we have enough income to meet our financial commitments, keep up with rising costs and to allow us to manage and maintain our properties to a high standard. We do everything possible to limit the level of rent increase to make sure it is affordable to our tenants.

Rent increase – what you need to know

The difference between your new rent and what you currently pay depends on: 

Who sets your rent (Link or the independent Rent Registration Office)

If you have an old secure tenancy (pre-1989), your rent will continue to be set by the Rent Registration Service every three years. The only change at April 2015, will be in the amount you pay for service charges, which may have gone up or down.

Rents for all other tenants are set by Link in accordance with our rent policy, which is based on a points system.

Any agreements that were put in place, when your property was transferred to Link

Some Link properties were not built or purchased by ourselves.  They came to Link from other Housing Associations or Local Authorities via a “transfer of engagements”.  At the time of transfer, a restriction on rent increases may have been agreed.  If this was the case, your rent increase may not be as high as 2.0%.

Whether or not your rent has reached our points level for the type of property you live in

In 2003, we revised our rent policy and created a points system to be more fair and transparent about how we set our rents.  Each property is allocated a number of points according to the house type, size and the amenities it has. The number of points does not change unless there have been alterations/improvements to the property for example, the installation of central heating or double-glazing, (but not replacement of heating or windows).  The rent is then calculated using a value for each point i.e. points x point £value = rent charge.

There are some tenants who moved into their homes before the current rent policy was adopted and as a result a few properties have higher rents and some have lower rents than the pointed value.  To deal with this an additional phased increase is used which means that properties with a lower rent will have up to an additional 3% added to their rent charge to phase their rent charge up to the correct amount. (In line with our rent setting policy and agreed by the Link Board, any phased increase will be capped at a total possible increase of 5.0% for the year 2015/16).

If your rent charge is higher than the pointed value, then the charge will be frozen until the annual increases to pointed properties catch up.

Whether or not you pay service charges

The information above refers to the basic rent for your home. Many tenancies also include an agreement for Link to provide additional services such as landscaping of common areas, stair cleaning and communal lighting.

If these services are provided, the cost of providing these together with an administration charge is added to your rent.  These are known as service charges.

A recent tenant led inspection recommended we improve the information we send out about service charges and the level of service you are paying for each year.  The attached letter therefore details the breakdown between basic rent and services as well as the service(s) you pay for.  

If you receive a landscaped gardening service, we will write to you in the spring, once the new landscaping contractor is in place, with more details of what you can expect from that service

More information

If you wish further detail on the services provided, or you have any questions regarding your rent, please contact the Customer Service Centre on 03451 400 100.