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How much will rents be increased by and from when?

North Star rents will increase by 4.1% starting from Monday 4th April 2022.

Why has my rent gone up?

As a Housing Association we follow Government Guidance and Regulation when we increase rents. We are allowed to increase rents by a maximum of the rate of inflation for September plus 1%. Inflation in September was at 3.1%.

The additional 1% is to help landlords develop more new affordable housing.

Once the rate of inflation was confirmed in September we started reviewing what rent levels may be for the next financial year. This year we have considered the level of increase which can be applied alongside the challenges faced by North Star and its tenants.

We know tenants are facing challenges with the increase in fuel, food and household bills and changes to the benefit system taking place.

North Star has also seen cost increases in a number of areas. The cost of delivering maintenance, planned maintenance and developing new homes has increased between 10-15%. This is a result of rising cost of materials, supplies and labour.

We are making further investment in the safety and servicing of our properties. We will also be making more money available to support tenants and communities. Focusing on the future, we’re investing in the energy efficiency of our properties to meet Government targets to cut carbon emissions.

We need to ensure we have enough income so that we can continue to develop and deliver services to all our customers. As well as increasing the rent we continue to make savings and efficiencies where we can, in 2021/22 we saved £300k and in 2022/23 we plan to make savings of at least £250k.

However, increasing the rent is one of the ways we’re able to cover our costs and ensure North Star continues to be a strong and responsible landlord.

How is the rent review decided?

Rent levels for social housing are guided by the Government. This means North Star must set its rents in line with the Rent Standard and the policy statement on rents for social housing.

The Government changed its rent policy from April 2020. This allows housing associations to increase rents by a maximum of the rate of inflation for September plus 1%. To calculate this the North Star use the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI figure in September 2021 was 3.1%.

The additional 1% on top of inflation is intended by Government to enable landlords to develop more new affordable housing.

What does North Star do with the rental income?

North Star is a not-for-profit charitable housing association, but that doesn’t mean we don’t work hard to be efficient. We care about the people and communities we serve and each year we aim to generate a financial surplus.

We do this to invest back into the organisation, to deliver our social purpose and strategic objectives. We call this our surplus for purpose.

It’s a priority for us to ensure our existing homes are safe, warm and well maintained and during the next year we will complete  around 12,000 repairs. We’ve budgeted £3.3million to complete planned maintenance to 1,300 homes, including replacing kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems. £0.6m is budgeted to complete additional energy efficiency improvements and a further £1m will be spent on health and safety work and servicing to our properties. Our strategy to develop new homes will see us invest £11.3m building 75 new homes for rent during 2022/23.

We invest in communities which support people to thrive and feel at home. We will make an additional £200k available to support people through these challenging times, investing £0.25m in local projects engaging our tenants and communities.

Our Annual Report  includes information on how North Star invests to develop and maintain homes and communities.

What about service charges?

Service charges are not governed by the same formula as rents. Any charges we make for services are based on the actual cost of providing the service. Details of any service charges applicable to your home are detailed in your rent increase letter.

How is North Star supporting people?

Our priority is to support tenants to sustain their tenancy. If you’re concerned about money or having difficulty paying your rent we want to hear from you as soon as possible. Your Housing Officer is on hand to provide you with support to pay your rent. Our Welfare Benefit Team can provide you with guidance and advice on maximising your income and claiming benefits. In addition to the investment North Star is making to support tenants, it is also possible for us to connect you to specialist services and grants you may be able to access to meet the cost of energy for example.

For further advice or to make an appointment with a Welfare Benefit Officer:

You can access independent money advice with:


What do I need to do if I pay by:
 

Universal Credit

You must login and update your rent amount on your Universal Credit Journal before the end of your April assessment period or you will miss out on money you are due.

Housing Benefit

We will inform your council of any change in your rent and so the amount of Housing Benefit you receive will be automatically amended.

Direct Debit

We will amend the Direct Debit payment amount to reflect your new rent. You will receive a confirmation of the new Direct Debit from our payment provider ‘Allpay’.

Standing Order

You will need to contact your bank and update the standing order amount to reflect the new rent from April 2022.

Paypoint Card

You will need to adjust the payments you make to cover the rent amount.

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