Welcome to our rent and service charge information page
Here you can find more information and advice on your rent and service charges for 2022/23, as explained in your booklet.
This is a page for all our customers, whether you own or rent your home, and it will be updated frequently.
The charges which apply personally to you and your home are detailed in your rent and service charge booklet which was posted to you. If you have not received a booklet explaining your new charges, please contact us.
We hope you find everything you need here to help you with any questions you may have. If you would prefer to talk with someone, please contact your customer partner or homeownership officer, or speak with one of our friendly contact centre advisors.
If you're worried about your financial situation, our regional income teams are available to help…
In these short videos we hear from customers, as they talk about how they've been able to benefit from the support provided by our regional Income teams.
Building Better Futures - John
We spoke to our customer John, who says speaking to our income team helped 'turn his life around'.
Building Better Futures - Derek
We were able to support Derek to stay in his home. He's been able to pay off his £1600 of arrears, and he's proud of the person he's become.
Building Better Futures - Sue
When Sue became ill, she was really grateful for the support and understanding she received from our Income team.
Building Better Futures - Nasreen
Nasreen has some advice for anyone worrying about their money situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
To make it easier, we've broken these down into five categories…
Your New Rent and Service Charges
You will find all your charges detailed in your booklet. Everything is broken down so you can see exactly what services you are paying for and how much they cost.
Your charges change every year. We send you details of your new charges at least one month before they start.
Most of our customers will pay rent and service charges. However, some customers only pay rent, as they do not receive any other services, and some customers only pay service charges as they own all their home and don’t pay any rent. The charges in your booklet apply to you personally and can be different to what your neighbours pay. For example, they may receive different services or own a different share of their home.
If you live in one of our independent living schemes, it is likely that you receive more services than someone who lives in their own rented house or shared ownership home. This means your service charges will be higher, even if that home is just across the street.
Your new charges will take effect from the actual date in your agreement. This will normally be a tenancy agreement, shared ownership lease or your property transfer.
If you pay rent to us, either as a resident or a shared owner, your payments will be higher in 2022/23. Your rent will either increase by either the Consumer Price Index (CPI), or the Retail Price Index (RPI), subject to the terms of your tenancy, lease or other agreement. If you pay service charges, these may also change. All your charges and how they are calculated are explained in your booklet.
Renting Residents: for charges based on the CPI, we use a government formula of CPI plus an additional 1% to calculate your charges. The CPI in September 2021 was 3.1%. Adding the extra 1% means that the rent most residents pay in 2022/23 will increase by 4.1%.
Shared owners: your rent increase is calculated using either RPI or CPI, plus an additional percentage. This, along with the relevant month the RPI or CPI figure is calculated, is stated in your lease.
Renting Residents: this formula is what the government recommends housing associations and local councils use. We are not a private landlord, so we cannot charge any rent we like, we are regulated by the government.
That is why renting from a housing association is much safer and securer than renting from a private landlord. We cannot, and would not, just change our rents because we want to, and you have rights as our customer that you do not get from private renting. This makes your home, and the services you receive from us, guaranteed. This would only change if you broke the terms of your tenancy.
Shared Owners - our regulator provides the leases that housing associations are expected to use for shared ownership. These leases state the initial rent, along with how and when it is reviewed in the following years. We consider each individual lease when reviewing rent.
We do not have to, but we need to so we can continue to provide the homes and services that are expected of us. The prices of goods and services are rising for everyone, including Accent, and we have a responsibility to make sure we can continue to provide our services. We must make sure we can continue to invest in your homes so they always offer good quality and value for money, and we must make sure we can continue to provide the services that go with them, like our repairs and maintenance and estate services. We must also make sure we can continue to keep the homes our customers rent from us fit for current and future living with new fixtures and fittings like kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems and new technology.
We also have a responsibility to provide new homes for people in housing need. That is our purpose. We will not be able to do any of this if we do not operate as a financially strong and sound business with the money to provide homes and services for all our customers, now and in the future.
The Customer Price Index (CPI) and Retail Price Index (RPI) are at their highest points in many years. There are a lot of reasons for that. This article on the BBC news website explains it quite well.
As most of our leases and tenancy agreements state September’s RPI or CPI is to be used, this is what has been used. These rates have continued to rise since September. In September, the CPI was 3.1% so the rent for most residents who rent their homes will go up by 4.1%. RPI was 7.5%.
Here are some of the reasons why the rate is so high at present.
- The demand for oil and gas is pushing up energy prices worldwide. This means higher bills for householders and for businesses.
- There are shortages of many goods, which are pushing up prices and causing problems with supplies. This could also affect some of your services.
- The support the government provided to businesses during the pandemic, like reduced VAT and the cost of the furlough scheme, now has to be paid back.
- Businesses are struggling to recruit lorry drivers and skilled tradespeople.
When we were calculating the increase, there were a number of things we had to consider. We exist to provide housing for people in need. That is why we must make sure we have the funds to provide the services you receive as part of your agreement with us, such as our repairs and maintenance service. We must also always make sure we have the funds available to invest in your existing homes, so they continue to keep you safe, happy and comfortable and offer you good quality and value for money. We also need the funds to meet our legal responsibilities for new building safety and fire safety regulations, and we need to be able to respond to our responsibilities under climate change and decarbonisation. The cost of providing all services is rising and not raising your rent would mean we could not do all the things that you have a right to expect from us.
Yes, we have created this infographic which shows exactly how every £1 of your rent is broken down and where your money goes. 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, and we will be happy to explain where each £1 of your rent goes in more detail.
For the homes we maintain, or provide a repairs service for, we are working hard to transform our repairs and maintenance service, so it offers the quality of repairs service our customers are entitled to expect from us. However, we have not put up your charges just to do this, it is something we were already working on. The increase will help us keep improving and providing all our services as our economy changes, and make sure everyone in need of a home has a chance to live in one that offers good quality, security and value for money for as long as they need it.
The extra money will be spent on making sure we can continue to operate as a strong and financially sound business, and it will allow us to keep providing homes and quality services to our customers. The situation in our economy is affecting everyone, including Accent, as we are seeing much higher costs when we try to secure the parts, supplies and services we need to make sure your homes are kept in a safe, warm and good condition. The extra money will also go towards the future maintenance of your home and services, and on making sure we can continue to provide the management and support services you are entitled to receive.
Whereas we can say that rents for customers who rent their home from us will increase by 4.1%*, there isn’t a universal figure or change that we can say is being applied to all service charges.
The increases both in percentage and pounds will vary from scheme to scheme depending on the services provided at each scheme. For some schemes, the service charges have decreased.
Service costs will and have increased for a number of reasons including but not limited to – annual contractual increases, procurement of new contracts and prices and the increase in utility costs.
Please note that the percentage increase for rents and any changes to service charges are not the same thing.
*Rent increases for shared owners may be different depending on the terms of the lease.
Service charges can be ‘fixed’ or ‘variable’ depending on the type of home you live in or the type of agreement you have with us, whether that is a tenancy, lease or other agreement.
With a fixed service charge which is primarily for renting customers, we set the charge before the start of the year. It is based on the costs we know, (what we will pay a contractor for the year for example), and costs that are estimated, (how often we may need to tackle fly-tipping, for example). We do our very best to make sure our budget estimates are as accurate as possible, but it is always likely that some estimates will be different. If we pay more than what we have charged, we do not ask customers to pay more and if we underspend, we do not reimburse.
A variable service charge which is primarily for homeowners is a charge that can vary and is based only on an estimate of providing a particular service. Unlike a fixed charge, if the cost of services is more or less than estimated, the charges can change so customers are only paying for the true cost of the service.
If you pay any other charges for services that are not part of your service charge, these may also change to reflect our costs in providing these services. Your booklet will explain if you pay for any extra charges and how much you pay.
Your safety has always been our priority throughout the pandemic. During the first national lockdown, we had to pause some services to follow the government’s guidelines and keep our customers and staff as safe as possible. Although some services were temporarily paused in the first few weeks of the pandemic, we still had to pay our contractors under the terms of their contracts with us.
In the months since then, the cost of items like building materials and supplies have continued to rise and there is a shortage of skilled tradespeople to carry out work. Combining these with inflation has led to a rise in service charges.
Changing Your Payment Amount and Date
Depending on the way you pay your rent, please see below for 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||It’s best to report the change online or by email if your council let you do this. To check how best you can report the change use this government website.|
|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.
Our management fee pays for the cost of the staff directly involved in providing your services, calculating and managing your charges, the staff who help you with any queries and our offices. Although we haven’t been in our offices, we have all been working as normal, even though it has been from home. No staff were furloughed. Most of our business premises are not owned by us and there is still the need to pay all the charges that come with them, including rent, service charges and utility charges.
Sundry expenses include items that don’t have their own budget, like very small improvements. Please read your rent and service charge booklet to see if you pay any sundry charges as not everyone does. Your booklet will explain what they are for.
Help and Support
Please speak to us if you are worried about how to pay your rent or any of your household bills. We have a dedicated team who can help. They have helped many customers manage their money over the past few years. Our team will never judge you or make you feel uncomfortable, they will help you make the most of your money and help you stay safe and comfortable in your home. If you’d rather not talk to us, you can use our 'Debt Advice Locator Tool' from Money Helper, which can point you in the right direction for other charities and organisations who can also help you.
Please speak to your customer partner or home ownership specialist if you are worried you can’t pay your rent and services charges.
Our friendly team of advisors will speak to you about any money worries you have. They can work through your household budget, your income and make sure you are claiming everything you are entitled to. Our advisors are trained to help you and they work with many other agencies and charities who might also be able to provide help and support. We have helped many customers and they speak very highly of the service.