Changes to Rent and Service Charges 2022

Why is my rent increasing?

For shared ownership properties, the way we review your rent is outlined in your lease – this is our legal contract. For the majority of Plumlife’s customers the formula for doing this is linked to the Retail Price Index for November, and for over 1000 properties the lease also states a 0.5% increase on top of this figure.

This year November Retail Price Index was 7.1%, which would have meant and increase of between 7.1% and 7.6% for the majority of our customers. We would normally always work in line with the terms of the lease, but for this year given the exceptional times customers have been dealing with in the wider external environment we have made a business decision to cap the increase at 5%. 

Rents for most customers will increase by 5% in line with the cap we have applied for this year. This is lower than the lease provision for most properties which would have been between 7.1 and 7.5% due the Retail Price Index at November 2021 being 7.1%. Due to the exceptional external environment this felt like the right thing for our business to do.

This is a figure used to measure inflation. It reflects how much the price of common goods and services changes over time. The Retail Price Index is higher than last year because the cost of goods and services has increased more sharply than it has done in previous years. This means the amount rents can increase has also gone up.

We’re here to help. Our priority is to support you and prevent you getting into rent arrears. If you’re concerned about the rent increase and would like advice on claiming benefits or managing your money check out https://www.plumlife.co.uk/for-residents/coronavirus-and-my-rent or contact your Property Income Manager. You may be entitled to welfare benefits and other support available through our work with local foodbanks, community partners, and National Energy Action.

Our Community Investment Service can also help you to manage your household finances - from finding a job, upskilling or re-training to budgeting and help with affording utility and other bills. We can also help you get to grips with Universal Credit and debt – get in touch with us by email at community.investment@greatplaces.org.uk.

You will not have to complete a brand new claim with the Department for Work and Pensions. Once we write to inform you of the new rent Universal Credit will prompt you via your journal after 1 April so that you can advise them of your new rent and service charge. This is the only time you need to respond about the new rent.

Get in touch with the Housing Benefit team at your local council to advise of your new charges from 1 April 2022.

Don’t worry, your direct debit will be adjusted automatically. After we write to you at the end of February notifying you of your rent increase, we will adjust your direct debit and you will receive information from Allpay to confirm your new monthly payments. If you have a repayment plan for rent arrears we will add the additional amount onto your monthly direct debit total. We will amend your new payments in line with the new charge.

We’re here to help. Get in touch with your Property Income Manager if you have rent arrears and want to discuss increasing your payments or direct debit to cover this debt

The letters telling you of the rent increase will be sent to you in February 2022. The new rent amount will then apply from the beginning of April 2022.

Service Charges

What is a service charge?

Some of our homes also include a service charge for the cost of services within shared, communal areas. Service charges cover services such as window cleaning, communal gardening, maintenance of lifts and other services.

Service charges are based on the actual amount we expect services to cost each year. This means charges may go up or down as the costs of providing these services change. Customers who have a service charge will receive a detailed breakdown of their charge.

If you’re in a shared ownership house where we provide buildings insurance. This will increase from £6 a month to £7 per month. This is the first increase in five years. We’ve been working really hard to keep this cost down over this time, however the insurance market has shifted significantly and this has meant we’re having to increase the cost.