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Tenancy

Rent and Service Charges

We charge rent to cover the cost of repairs and maintenance, future improvements and the provision of other services to all our customers. It is important that we collect all rent, service charges, costs and recharges due.

There are two main types of rent charge. These are affordable rents and social rents. Affordable rents are set at 20% below a market valuation. Social rents are set using a formula which considers the property value, local earnings and the property size. You can find more information at www.gov.uk.

You will be sent a rent statement every April for the previous 12 months. If you would like a rent statement in the meantime please email [email protected] giving your full name and address and put ‘rent statement request’ in the email title.

You will need to pay your rent to cover the four-week notice period. If you receive housing benefit and you move before the end of your notice period your entitlement will end. You may be entitled to benefits to cover this period, but you must make a formal request to the council in advance.

Your statement covers the financial year from the first Monday in April until the following March/April. Any payments since this period will not show on your annual statement.

Your ‘End Balance’ on your statement tells you what the balance on your account was on the final day of the financial year. This will say either ‘in credit’, ‘in arrears’ or ‘0.00’ if your account is clear.

Your payment reference number is the 19-digit number that appears on your North Devon Homes rent card. It begins with the digits 98269216***********. If you don’t have a rent card please email [email protected] and the team will send it to you.

A minus sign in front of any of the figures in the right-hand column of your statement indicate that this is a credit balance.

You should make a payment to clear your arrears. If you are unable to do this you should contact us to discuss your circumstances and make a repayment arrangement. Remember that your tenancy is at risk if you do not pay your rent.

When you receive your annual rent statement this has been produced after all the housing benefit has been received and added to your account. If you have questions about your housing benefit entitlement you need to phone North Devon District Council on 01271 388877.

We will write to you in March to tell you what your new rent amount is. If you get housing benefit you will also have a letter from the Council to tell you what your entitlement is. If your housing benefit does not cover the whole rent amount, you will need to pay the difference.

Your housing benefit claim is dealt with by the Council. They can be contacted on 01271 388877.

We collect Direct Debits on one of four dates over the 11 months from April to February. These dates are 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd. We will write to you at the beginning of each year with a payment schedule setting out how much we will collect each month.

There are many ways to pay your rent and service charges. Take a look at our Ways to Pay page for more information.

Your rent is due every Monday for the coming week. If you prefer, you can pay every two weeks (for the coming two weeks) or every month (for the coming month). Remember that some months will have four Mondays and others will have five so you will need to adjust your payments accordingly.

Housing benefit is paid four weekly in arrears whilst your rent is charged every Monday in advance. This means that you build up four weeks of arrears before your account is cleared by the housing benefit. We recommend that you make some modest additional rent payments to gradually bring your payments into line with the terms of your tenancy.

If you have a credit on your account, we recommend that you adjust future payments to take this into account. In some cases we can issue a refund. These are made by cheque in the name of the customers.

If you would like a refund of a credit on your account please email [email protected] giving your full name and address. Please put ‘refund request’ in the email title. If a refund is payable we will send a cheque within 15 working days. If you have a joint tenancy the cheque will be sent out in both names – you will need a joint bank account.

There are four rent free weeks which are usually in March. Please call our team for exact dates.

A service charge is a payment that is made towards the cost of North Devon Homes providing and maintaining communal services where you live. We work out service charges according to the number of properties that benefit from receiving those services.

The service charge is based on an estimate of the costs of providing each individual service for the coming year. We may then need to adjust this estimate to consider any difference that has arisen from previous year’s charges.

The items that are covered by a service charge will vary depending upon the property in which you live. You may not have a charge for some of the services. Outlined below are the Service Charge descriptions and an explanation of what is included:

  • Communal Electric - Lighting of communal areas, internal and external, plus the costs of running any other communal appliances, for example washing machines at some sheltered sites.
  • Communal Heating - Heating of communal areas, for example hallways and common rooms.
  • Communal Water – Supply of water to communal areas, for example laundries, common rooms and outside taps.
  • Communal Cleaning - Cleaning of communal areas and bins; this could be inside and/or outside and includes contract cleaning, cleaning materials and pest control. Cleaning charges are reduced by any income generated from the hire of communal facilities.
  • Estate Management Services - Including but not limited to car parking permits, skips, abandoned vehicles and general caretaking duties.
  • Grounds Maintenance – Includes: grass cutting, hedge cutting, maintenance of shrub beds, weed spraying, play areas, tree works, litter picking and contract monitoring.
  • Door Entry System – Upkeep and maintenance of a door entry system or phone.
  • Fire Alarms, Equipment and Emergency Lighting - The maintenance of fire alarm and emergency lighting systems and the periodic testing, repair and replacement of firefighting equipment. This includes fire extinguishers, hose reels and sprinkler systems and contract monitoring.
  • Laundry – Any costs relating to communal laundry facilities.
  • Lift Maintenance – Provision, maintenance and servicing of any lifts.
  • Communal Aerial - Provision and maintenance of communal TV aerial system.
  • Sheltered Housing Management Support – Housing management activity delivered by on-scheme support staff.
  • Alarm (Hardwired) – Upkeep and maintenance of a hardwired alarm system.
  • Individual Electric – Supply of electricity to individual properties which are not separately metered but connected to a communal system.
  • Individual Heating – Supply of gas to individual properties which are not separately metered but connected to a communal system.
  • Biomass Boiler – Costs related to the running of a biomass boiler.
  • Septic Tank - Regular emptying of septic tanks in rural areas, with no mains drainage system.
  • Capital Equipment Cost – General wear and tear of communal equipment, for example lifts and washing machines.
  • Management Fee - We charge a fee to cover the management of the service charges.

The statement shows the amount we estimated was collectable as a service charge for the previous financial year, compared to the amount that the services actually cost us. Any difference will result in an under or over recovery of costs, called a surplus or a deficit.

Any surpluses or deficits showing on the statement will be adjusted for when we set the service charge estimates for the following year.

Your tenancy agreement shows the services that you are required to pay for. The total makes up the total service charge due in addition to your rent. If you dispute any of the charges you should contact us in the first instance. If we are unable to reach agreement over the amounts we charge you, you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to hear your case. You have a right to inspect any invoices relating to the statement period.

If you have any other questions about your rent or service charges that are not answered here please contact us.