Rent & Service Charge - Information for Homeowners

The information on this page is for customers who own their home with us as shared owners, leaseholders and freeholders. We have a separate page for customers who rent their home with us.  

Your new rent and service charge costs for the financial year 2023/24 are explained in the booklet we have recently sent to you. If you have not yet received it, it will be with you very shortly. If you have not received it by 20 March 2023, please let us know.

Cost of living and Rent Increases

It is hard not to notice the increase in many of the day-to-day costs that we are facing right now. Fuel, shopping and utilities are a lot higher than many of us have experienced before, and many households are struggling.

This is why The National Housing Federation has asked housing associations to consider limiting the percentage increase we apply to our shared ownership rents this year to 7%. This is in line with the cap the government has placed on rents for housing association tenants. We have agreed to this, and it will apply to existing shared ownership customers whose lease states rent is to be paid.

Please note, the cap does not apply to service charges.

How we calculate shared ownership rents

Most of our shared owners have their rent reviewed annually with either the Retail Price Index (RPI), or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), being a major factor. CPI and RPI figures are published each month by the Office for National Statistics, (ONS). They note the prices of everyday items and services, (known as a ‘basket of goods’). The ONS analyses how much these prices have risen since the same date the previous year and, every month, releases the figures as to how much they have varied.
We calculate charges based on the formula stipulated in the agreement (lease) you have with us, which includes the relevant RPI or CPI and the month that we are required to use.

We are party to many variations of lease agreements which state whether RPI or CPI is used, different months to use and also whether an additional percentage is to be added to the CPI or RPI amount. 

Service or other Charges 

Any service charge you receive reflects Accent’s costs in providing these services to you. As an example, many services provided, such as grounds maintenance and communal cleaning, are now costing more to provide for reasons such as the living wage, utility costs, labour costs and the supply of materials. These costs are passed to customers as recipients of the services. What services you receive may differ depending on the type of home you live in and the agreement you have with us. Your booklet explains what your charges cover and the amount you will pay. 

When we estimate costs, (service charges), we consider the previous period’s actual costs whilst estimating costs for the upcoming year. Your service charge for the upcoming year is always estimated, and you may find the actual cost of services increases or decreases when the accounts are reconciled at the end of the year. It is important to understand that Accent only recovers the actual cost of supplying services to you via your service charge.

Below we have added some of the questions we think you may ask, and the answers we would give you. We hope these are useful for you. If you have any further questions we haven't thought of, please let us know so we can add them to benefit other customers. If you would like anything explaining further, please speak with your homeownership specialist.  

Heat Networks (Independent Living Schemes)

If you live in one of our independent living schemes, the heating and hot water in your scheme may be provided through a communal (shared) heating system, known as a heat network. For more information on how these work and how heating charges are calculated, please read our leaflet or speak to your house manager or homeownership specialist.

Depending on the agreement you have with Accent, you may pay rent and/or service charges to us.

If you own your home outright, you may be required to pay service charge if Accent provides services to the estate you live on, or where there are specific provisions in your agreement.

If you have purchased through shared ownership, you will pay rent and service charges. The level of service charge you pay depends on the services Accent provides.

You can find details of your new charges for the year 2023/24 in your ‘Rent & Service Charge’ booklet. Your charges are broken down in detail so you can see exactly which services you are paying for and how much they cost. 

The charges shown in your rent and service charge notice booklet apply to you personally. They can be very different to the charges of even close neighbours, depending on where you live and the services you receive.  


A service charge is an amount that a customer pays as part of, or as well as, their rent. It covers the cost for services such as grounds maintenance, communal cleaning, communal repairs and other services.

All Accent homeowners pay variable service charges. These are calculated based on known contract prices, estimates and activities that happen in our schemes and on our estates. The service charge set is an ‘estimate’ of the costs for providing the services for the coming financial year. The costs are ‘apportioned’ (divided) between the homes in that scheme or on the estate in line with your lease or transfer.

Once the service costs are set, the charge does not change or vary within the financial year.

At the end of each financial year, service charge accounts are prepared and issued within six months of the year end. Where actual costs are more than the estimate, we can recover the shortfall. Where actual costs are less than the estimate, a credit is applied to the homeowner’s account. 

You will find all your charges (including your new rent, if applicable), explained in your rent and service charge booklet for the financial year 2023/24. Your charges change every year.

If you live in one of our independent living schemes, you are likely to receive more services than someone who lives in their own home. This means your service charges will be higher, even if we have a mix of different homes close by.  

Your new charges will take effect from the actual date in your agreement. This will be a lease or your property transfer. 

We calculate annual rent increases by following the specific rental increase stipulations outlined in the terms of your lease. This generally means that your rent will be reviewed every year based on a specific month’s Retail Price Index (RPI). 

The Office for National Statistics, (ONS), calculates the CPI/RPI by noting the prices of everyday items and services in what is known as a ‘basket of goods.’ The ONS looks at how much these prices have risen since the same date in the past year and, every month, publishes a CPI/RPI figure. The figure is available on the ONS website, 

For reference September 2022 RPI was recorded at 12.6%. This is the highest rate for many years. Everything in our everyday lives is affected by inflation. For example, if the cost of a loaf of bread is £1, but then it goes up by 5p, then bread inflation is 5%. It also applies to services like having your hair done, or getting your car cleaned. 

Many of us don’t notice these low levels of inflation from month to month, but in the long term, these price rises can have a big impact on how much you can buy with your money.

Please check your booklet for details of your rent and service charges and how they have been calculated.  

When we set your rent, we consider a number of things. We are a housing association, regulated by the government and our remit is to provide affordable, good quality housing. 

We must continue to maintain our homes to ensure they are safe and comfortable, and it is important that we continue to invest in improving the thermal efficiency of our homes to help tackle fuel poverty and work towards meeting the government’s decarbonisation targets. 

We also need funds to meet our legal and regulatory responsibilities, for example, under new building safety and fire safety regulations, and the changing standards the government are due to introduce for customers who rent and own their homes.    

We are seeing rising costs in all the services we provide, which is why we must make sure we have the money to provide the services you are entitled to receive as part of your tenancy with us.  

We are committed to playing our part in tackling the housing shortage in this country and have plans in place to build more new, affordable homes every year.   

Not increasing our rents would mean we could not meet our landlord obligations to you or our regulatory responsibilities set by the government. 

Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, among other changes to our economy, have had an impact on the supply chain for all goods and services, and together with labour and skills shortages have caused economic uncertainly and rising costs and inflation. This has resulted in the highest cost of living we have seen in over 40 years.

One notable increase affects those customers who pay for heating, lighting and any other items that run from a utility supply in their service charge.

As well as communal heating and electric supplies, we recover the costs of the gas and electric supply to some of our homes through our service charge. There has been a huge, unforeseen rise in utility costs in 2022, and costs are expected to rise again in April 2023 when the current Government support reduces.

We set the service charges for 2022-23 in November 2021 and had no way to foresee the climate we currently find ourselves in and accurately budget to cover the true costs in 2022. We now have projections of costs for 2023, and these have been reflected in your charges for this year. The charges cover the large rise in costs for 2022 and 2023.  

There has also been a steep rise in the costs for services such as grounds maintenance, window cleaning and communal cleaning services. These come from higher demands for materials and fuels, and because of the shortage of skilled operatives, which has also increased the cost of labour.

No, we are a not-for-profit organisation and we make no profit from service charges; they simply help us to cover the cost of providing services to customers. 

Yes, we have information which shows exactly how every £1 of rental income is broken down and spent and other information in our annual performance report to customers for the financial year ending 31 March 2022. We’ve tried to show how we spend it in the most clear and simple way, but if you would like to ask us anything, please get in touch, we'd be happy to explain it further.

We understand that many of you may be worried about the higher charges, and we are committed to supporting anyone who is struggling. If you are worried, please talk to us. Our advisors can offer support and advice and if needed, also refer you to agencies and charities which can help.

If you would like more information, or you’d like to use our online support, please visit our support page to use our budget and benefits calculators, the ‘money navigator’ for your own personal plan, Universal Credit advice and to look for debt advice services near you.

Please speak to us if you are worried you can’t pay your rent or check our online help and support.

What do I need to do about changing the amount and date of my payments? 

Depending on the way you pay your rent, this is what you need to do.    

If you pay by 

You need to  

Direct Debit 

Do nothing. We will automatically change the amount you pay. 

Universal Credit 

Update your journal on the date the new charge applies from. 

Housing Benefit 

We will notify Housing Benefit of the new charge and the date it applies from. If you receive part housing benefit, we will notify housing benefit, but you will need to change the amount you pay us once housing benefit have confirmed your new entitlement.

Standing Order 

Change the amount you pay through your bank. 

Swipe Card 

Pay the new charge from the date the new charge applies from. 

By Card 

Pay the new charge from the date the new charge applies from. 














If you pay us with any other method than Direct Debit, and are currently paying extra towards any arrears, please include the new charge amount and the extra amount you are paying towards your arrears. If you do not currently pay by Direct Debit, but would like to, please contact us. It is the most convenient way to pay. 

Google translate Google translate
click to choose
Colour contrast Contrast
Font size Text size