Charging Rent over 52 weeks from April 2021

 

18 January 2021

For some residents in Sussex and Kent, we have charged rent over 48 or 50 weeks ever since those homes came into management of Optivo or its predecessors, including:
  • Rother Homes
  • 1066 Housing
  • Swale Housing
  • Other Kent local authority stock transfers
These rent accounts show ‘rent-free weeks’. The annual total rent for these homes is the same as an equivalent home charged for 52 weeks of a year. The difference is that in these homes, we’ve charged the rent over 48 or 50 weeks (the total annual rent would be the same).

From April 2021, we’re aligning all our rent accounts and we’ll charge each resident their annual rent over 52 weeks.

Why we're making the change

  • To help support residents who receive Universal Credit as this is paid monthly
  • Residents who receive UC will no longer need to notify the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) about rent-free weeks (this can often lead to confusion and inaccuracies)
  • It simplifies how we set rents and makes managing accounts more efficient.

You can still be flexible 

You can still over-pay your rent each week and build up credit if you'd like to. If you’re paid monthly, you can still pay your rent every month. We can help you work out what you need to pay each month.

How might this may affect you from April 2021?

Example 1:  Ex-Rother Homes or 1066 home with four ‘rent-free’ weeks 

Your current rent will (in most cases) increase by 1.5% in April (although some may have a lower increase). Your new service charges will be at the new estimated cost
 
  Weekly Yearly
Current rent charged over 48 weeks
£115.76  
New rent charged over 48 weeks with 1.5% increase at £1.74 £117.50 £5,640.00
New rent charged over 52 weeks with 1.5% increase at £1.74 £108.46 £5,639.92

In the above example, your weekly rent seems like it’s reducing by £9.04 a week but, over the 52 weeks, you can see it’s almost identical. New rent in this example is 8p less over the 52 weeks

Example 2: 

  Weekly Yearly
Current rent charged over 50 weeks
£103.88  
New rent charged over 50  weeks with 1.5% increase at £1.56 £105.44 £5,272.00
New rent charged over 52 weeks with 1.5% increase at £1.56 £101.38 £5,271.76

Your weekly rent seems like it’s reducing by £4.06 a week but, over the 52 weeks, you can see it’s almost identical. New rent in this example is 24p less over the 52 weeks
 
It’s possible your rent may be slightly more over the year. The range of difference (due to rounding) will be between £0.26 more and -£0.26 less over a year.