Paying Your Accommodation Charges

Rent and accommodation charges

While living in our accommodation you will have a weekly charge to cover the cost of your stay. You are responsible for this payment and need to ensure this is kept up to date.

If you are not working or have a low income you may be eligible to make a claim for Housing Benefit to assist you with some or all your weekly charges. Your support worker can help you to make and manage your claim, but you should remember that it is your claim, and you are responsible for keeping us and Housing Benefit informed of any changes to your income that may affect this.

It is very important you do this because if you do not keep Housing Benefit updated with any changes or fail to supply the necessary information (e.g., pay slips), this may result in your claim being closed and you will then be responsible for the full weekly charge.

Your weekly payment will be made up of (1) accommodation/ rent charge and (2) service charge, which can be eligible, or ineligible.

We review our charges every year and they change every March/April – if you are living in a property at the beginning of March each year, then you will be given at least 4 weeks’ notice of the new rents and charges.

(1) Accommodation/rent charge

A charge is payable on your property for the cost of providing, managing, maintaining, and improving your home. The money we raise through the collection of accommodation charges goes back into providing services and maintaining our homes.

Your accommodation charges help to pay for the following services:

Repairs, maintenance, and buildings insurance

Office and staff costs

Intensive housing management costs – such as moving people in and out, carrying out health and safety checks to help keep properties safe, managing the rent and accommodation charges system

(2) Service Charge

Your weekly charge will include a service charge which is different depending on whether you live in a flat or a house.

If you live in a flat your service charge is payable as part of your weekly charge and covers the cost of:

Managing and maintaining the property and communal areas

Heating and lighting communal areas

External communal ground and maintenance

The rent and service charge does not include a contribution towards water or fuel to your flat and you are responsible for these costs.

If you live in a house or a 24/7 accommodation service, your service charge is payable as part of your weekly charge and covers the cost of:

Managing and maintaining the property, including fire safety works, furniture replacement, cleaning, etc.

Council tax, rubbish removal, pest control, etc.

Water charges to the property

Fuel charges to the property

External communal ground and maintenance

Some of these costs are known as “eligible”, which means that they will be paid by housing benefit if you are entitled to full/some housing benefit.

Usually, if you live in a house or have any communal spaces some of your weekly service charges will be considered “ineligible” – this is the cost of services that only you use – for example, the cost of the heating and lighting only to your room, or for things that Housing Benefit will not pay for such as Wi-Fi.

This means you will not be able to claim Housing Benefit to cover this part of your weekly payment – you need to pay this out of your income.

 

How to pay your accommodation charges

Managing your weekly accommodation charge is important to stop you from falling into arrears.

Arrears can have a negative impact on you; they can affect your credit rating, your chance of getting credit or contracts and could seriously affect your housing options in the future.

This might mean that you could not, for example, get a mobile phone contract, or be able to buy a car using finance.

There are a few ways in which you can pay your weekly accommodation charges and your support worker can help you decide the best method to suit your circumstances.

 Online 

You can pay your accommodation charges online here.

Electronic Bank Transfer

There are many benefits to making payments by electronic bank transfer; they are your instruction that you manage with your bank.

You can do this by either setting up a regular standing order which will automatically send payments to us, or you can make one off bank transfers either at your bank or using online banking.

You will need the following details to make an electronic transfer:

Account name                   1625 Independent People

Account No.                      2243 3354

Sort Code                         40-14-13

Reference                         Your Full Name

Card

You can make payments over the phone by calling our Head Office on 0117 3178800. Office opening hours are Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm and Wednesday 1pm – 5pm.

Please have your bank card details to hand.

Cash

You can make cash payments to your support worker or come into our Head Office at Kingsley Hall in Old Market.

Please note we do not give out change, so please bring the correct amount.

Office opening hours are Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm and Wednesday 1pm – 5pm.

 

Account balances and statements

We send out statements at regular intervals throughout the year.

We also enclose a statement if we ever need to write to you about your account.

You can also request a statement at any time.

 

Support with paying accommodation charges

 We can help you set up payment arrangements or help with budgeting so that you can better afford to pay accommodation charges. We can signpost or refer you to specialists to help with your money or debt concerns.

Some bills are classed as priorities because the consequences of not paying them are greater than the consequences of not paying others.

Priorities are the ones that you should pay first, including government debts, such as Council Tax, as well as your accommodation, including arrears.

 

What happens if my account falls into arrears?

 We will contact you to make you aware that you have arrears, and to suggest what you need to do – this might be providing some information to housing benefit, increasing the amount that you pay to us so that you pay some off your arrears each time, or agreeing on a repayment agreement.

If you do not engage with us, or you do nothing and your arrears continue to increase, then we will send warning letters. This may result in you being given notice to leave the property.

Having accommodation charge arrears and being evicted because of arrears can really affect your housing options in the future.

1625ip also follow up and try to contact former residents who left with arrears to try and reach repayment agreements – even if the arrears are paid off slowly, but steadily, that is better than ignoring them.

We also sometimes use a collections agency to help us find addresses for former residents and contact them about rent balances.

 

What happens if my account is in credit?

 If when you leave, if the part of the rent account that you are responsible for, is in credit, then we will arrange a refund so that credit is paid back to you.