Rents

Your rent is what pays for your home and all the services we provide. Its level is set in line with the Co-op’s policies and government guidance, we aim to:

  • cover our costs including repair and maintenance, the management of tenancies and any loan repayments for the original cost of the buildings
  • set rents at levels that are reasonable for households in low-paid employment
  • provide enough homes to meet local needs.

If you want to appeal against your rent increase, you should follow the advice sent out with your rent review letter.

A. Ways to pay

You can pay your rent in a variety of ways:

  • Through your bank or building society where you can set up a Direct Debit or Standing Order arrangement. We can give you the necessary forms and explain how to do it. Your payment must leave your bank account in time to be with us by an agreed day of every week.
  • At any post office, or at any shop which displays the PayPoint or PAYzone signs. You can pay with cash or by cheque. Take your plastic rent payment card with you. Normally, your payment will get through to us in 2-3 days, but it can take longer if you pay at a shop.
  • By direct payment through your benefits. When claiming benefits, you can ask for the part that covers your rent to be paid direct to us. Remember though, if your benefit does not cover the full amount of rent you still have to pay us the difference.
  • Your My PA app (see Section 5).

The full amount due is shown on your rent statement – which can be accessed through the My PA app – and any letter sent to you about changes to your rent. The amount is made up of your weekly rent and, for certain properties, service charges. Your rent is due on the Monday of every week. You can pay monthly but when doing so you will pay all your month’s rent in advance at the beginning of each month. We calculate your monthly rent by multiplying your weekly rent by 52 (for each week of the year) and dividing by 12 (for each month).

B. Struggling to pay 

Paying your rent is your number one financial priority. It’s more important than anything else because you will lose your home if you do not pay. We don’t want that to happen and have a specialist team who can help you if you are struggling to pay. We understand that anyone can have money troubles so we will do our best to help. If you know you have a rent payment problem, or you have received a letter from us about your rent, you should contact us immediately.
We will discuss your arrears with you and, if appropriate, give you advice including how to apply for benefits. We may also put you in touch with another organisation that can give you specialist, independent advice. If you cannot pay the full amount you owe us, we may agree that you can pay an extra amount each week until the debt is paid off. However, we will take legal action against you if you do not keep to any repayment agreement you have made with us, and you continue to be in arrears with your rent payments. We will deliver a legal ‘Notice to Quit’ to you. If this happens, you must contact us immediately to discuss how to stop this going any further.
If you still do not try to clear or reduce your arrears, we will go to court and as a result:

  • you will have to pay the court costs
  • you will have a County Court Judgement against you
  • you will still have to pay us what you owe
  • you could lose your home. If this happens you may be considered to be intentionally homeless and, as a result, you and your family may not be rehoused by another housing association or a council. We do not have to accept you onto our waiting list if you approach us again at a later date.

C. Other charges

We strongly advise you to take out home contents insurance. This would provide cover against damage to your personal belongings, carpets, furniture and other household contents and decorations, if, for example, you had a fire or flood. It would also cover for things stolen in a break-in, or damage from a neighbouring property.

D. Benefits

If you’re on a low income you may be entitled to help with your rent. Anyone who is in rented housing and is named on the Tenancy Agreement can apply for housing benefits, provided they satisfy certain conditions. Applications and enquiries about benefits, housing related or otherwise, are not dealt with by us, but by your local council’s benefits office. We can, though, help you apply or put you in touch with other organisations who may be able to give you help and advice.

Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that your rent is paid even if you receive benefits. You must also renew your claim when you receive a reminder to do this. If you do not renew on time you may go into arrears with your rent and your benefits will not be backdated. If there are changes in your circumstances such as the number of people in your home, or a change in income you should inform both us and your local council’s benefits office.