Rent-charging policy consultation

Open from 15 November to 19 December 2018.

This consultation applies to Cambridge City Council tenants only.

We are consulting about changing the way in which we charge your rent – this online questionnaire is part of the formal consultation process.

For a number of years we have operated a 48-week cycle for charging and collecting rent, rather than 52 weeks. This leaves four weeks per year where, if your rent account has been in credit, you do not need to make a payment.

Many other councils and housing associations already collect rent over 52 weeks – this is a tried and tested model that is working well for other organisations.

To calculate your rent, we currently take your weekly rent and multiply it by 52 or 53 weeks, depending upon how many Mondays are in the rent year, to arrive at your annual rent. We then divides this sum by 48 or 49 weeks, giving you four weeks where no payment is due.

Under the new proposal we would remove the four ‘no rent’ weeks (also known as non-payable rent weeks) cand simply charge your weekly rent every Monday of the year. This will mean that you will no longer have any weeks where no payment is due but you will pay a smaller amount each week.

This does not change your yearly chargeable rent, which shall be calculated as usual in accordance with Government guidelines at the start of each financial year – so you will pay exactly the same amount across the year, and there will be no change in the total amount of rent you pay.

For example: if the amount you currently pay each week on a 48-week basis is £113.75 you would pay 48 weeks at this cost, which equals £5,460 per year. If the four no-rent weeks are removed, the cost to you will still be £5,460 per year, but when divided by 52 it will mean you pay £105 per week.

Using the same example, in a year where there are 53 Mondays the yearly rent would be £5,565. This, divided by 49 weeks, would mean a weekly rent of £113.57 but when it is spread over 53 weeks the weekly payable rent is reduced to £105 per week.

With the introduction of Universal Credit in October 2018, we have found that how we currently collect rent is causing difficulties for tenants claiming Universal Credit, as their payments are made to them monthly rather than four weekly (in line with how many receive their wages). So we need to look at whether the current system is still beneficial for our tenants, and if not, make changes accordingly.

If you are a council tenant, please complete our short survey to tell us what you think about changing your rent payments to a 52-week basis.

Rent-charging policy consultation

Call us on 01223 457070 if you have any questions about the consultation.

The consultation closes on Wednesday 19 December 2018. We will consider all responses by Friday 11 January 2019, and will post the outcome of the consultation here by Friday 18 January 2019.

The variation to your tenancy is subject to the outcome of the consultation. Any changes will be officially notified to you via the annual rent review letter which will be sent to you in February 2019, and will come into effect from Monday 1 April 2019.

We are consulting on this in line with section 6, paragraph 36 of our tenancy agreement. The agreement states “We will consult you on matters affecting your home and your tenancy before making changes to housing management or maintenance services, where the changes are likely to have a substantial effect on your tenancy” and “We will use whatever forms of consultation we consider appropriate, including newsletters and use of the Council’s official website”.

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