Changes to rent weeks from April 2015

The Council has agreed to change the number of weeks per year over which rents are charged. This change will take place from April 2015.

What do these changes mean?

Currently, rents are charged over 48 weeks a year with “free weeks” at the end of May, August, December and March. From April 2015, rents will be charged over 52 weeks. As rents are calculated as an annual charge, the amount of rent that is paid over the course of a year will only change by inflation – for 2015-16 this will be 2.2%.

Why are we making the changes?

The Council has taken this decision after consultation with the residents group, TACT, and in response to the following:

  • An increasing number of tenants who are paying their rent monthly by Direct Debit or standing order
     
  • The proposed welfare reforms where Housing Benefit is due to be replaced by Universal Credit
     
  • To make it easier for tenants and housing applicants to compare rents on the Hampshire Home Choice website, where many of our partner providers already operate with 52 rent weeks. 

How will the changes affect me?

The change to 52 weeks will result in a smaller weekly payment for all tenants but, for those tenants who are still paying weekly, it will mean making a payment every week. If tenants feel able to afford it and they wish to still enjoy a rent free period at Christmas (for example) they can still pay a higher weekly amount to build up a credit to be used later.

Tenants who pay monthly will not notice any difference as charges are spread equally over a 12 month period.

The new charging weeks will not directly affect any tenants who are in receipt of full Housing Benefit at the moment. However, with the proposed switch to Universal Credit in the future, many tenants will become responsible for making payments themselves and having rent charges over 52 weeks will help make it easier for them to budget.

If you have any queries regarding the change, please contact the Rent Accounts Team or speak to your Area Housing Manager.