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Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

We've put together some questions and answers about the changes we are proposing to your tenancy agreement and repairs obligations.



As your landlord, we are required by law to consult you on any proposed changes to the way we manage your home.

The Tenancy Agreement is the formal legal contract between us, as landlord and you, as tenants (both secure and introductory) and sets out the responsibilities and obligations we both have.

Combined with housing legislation, it is the basis on which your tenancy is managed and on which any action is taken if there are breaches of the conditions.

From November 2017, as part of the Governments welfare reforms, Universal Credit will be rolled out to all benefit claimants in Chesterfield.  This will see a different benefit payments replaced by one single benefit called Universal Credit. Tenants who previously had their rent paid directly to the council through Housing Benefit will now instead receive the money as part of their Universal Credit payment.

The responsibility for the paying your rent to the council will then lay with you as a tenant, meaning you need to budget carefully to ensure you don’t end up in arrears.

Because of the way Universal Credit will be paid to you if we continue collecting on a 48 week basis, with four weeks ‘rent free’, then you will not have enough money to cover all the rent due. This would mean you automatically go in to arrears. We are proposing the change to prevent this happening. 

No, you will pay the same amount.

By paying across 52 weeks instead of 48 weeks you will pay less per week than before, although it will work out exactly the same amount over a full year. 

For example, a rent of £100 per week would be as follows:

Total rent due per year £100 x 52 weeks = £5,200

Amount payable over 52 weeks = £100 per week

Amount payable over 48 weeks = £108.33 per week

Tenants will therefore pay less each week but in every week of the year.

As a result of the one per cent rent reduction from April 2016 to April 2020, we estimate we will have £10million less income than we planned in the same period.  Over the next 30 years this is a loss in income of £173 million.

At the same time, as a result of changes to welfare benefits, some tenants are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain rent payments and may have fallen into arrears, which means we have less cash to pay for services to tenants eg repairs, improvements and other services.

The Government, when it introduced the rent reduction, said it expected councils and other social landlords to make efficiencies in services to cover the loss of income.

We have already put in place new ways of working to ensure we get as much income as possible through rents and by letting properties as quickly as possible..

However, as we spend most of our money on repairs and maintenance to council homes, we have looked closely at how we can reduce this spending and  get value for money. 

This has included comparing what repairs we carry out for tenants compared to other councils and landlords, including North East Derbyshire and Bolsover.  The changes we are proposing to repairs bring us in line with what people are asked to do in other council areas.

We will still carry out all the repairs we are required to do  by law and those which could be dangerous for  a non-qualified tradesperson to do.

If we don’t make these savings, it may mean that other estate and tenancy based services are affected, for example, grass cutting, fly tipping and responding to anti-social behaviour.

As part of the consultation process we are asking tenants if they would have difficulty carrying out the suggested repairs themselves, the reasons why and what suggestions they have to address this, bearing in mind the need to make savings.

We will consider these responses as part of the consultation. The consultation will also ask if you would use a service where you could pay to have the repair carried out, as this could be an alternative option. 

By carrying routine repairs out over a longer period and by always offering an appointment, we can plan the work we do each day more efficiently eg doing all the repairs in the one area on the same day. If this happens  we will need less staff for responsive repairs, reducing the cost of the service. The staff would be redeployed to other council housing work. 

No, water rates should be the same as they are now. If you choose to have a water meter installed, you may even pay less than you do now.  Severn Trent also have schemes available to help households who receive  benefits or who have additional needs, which again may mean they pay less.

Severn Trent will be at all the consultation events we are organising (see Our Homes newsletter for details).  They will answer any questions people may have and sign you up to the most appropriate payment method.  Alternatively you can ring them on 03457 500500 or visit their website at www.stwater.co.uk

 


Last updated on 09 October 2017