What are rent and service charges?

Your rent is due every week in advance. If you choose to pay your rent fortnightly or monthly, you must pay in advance.

If you do not pay your rent we can go to court to get legal permission to evict you from your home. If you are having difficulty paying your rent please contact your Arrears Officer straight away.

You may want to have a look at our having difficulty paying your rent page to find out how we can help.

Ways to pay your rent   

You can pay your rent by:

  • Direct Debit
  • Standing order
  • Post Office
  • Payzone
  • Telephone payments
  • Online payments

To find out more about ways to pay your rent, please have a look at our How to Pay Your Rent page.

What are service and support charges?

There may be a charge to cover the cost of services provided by us included in your rent. They are calculated to recover the costs of providing these services. Depending on where you live, these may include caretaking, cleaning, lighting and grounds maintenance. If you pay a service charge you will get a break down of the costs and what the money is for each year.

If you live in a Sheltered Scheme the types of costs are the same as those listed above but will also include other items, such as the cost of the Scheme Manager and the maintenance of alarm systems.

Heating and hot water charges

In some sheltered schemes or blocks of flats there is a communal boiler which provides heating and hot water to the properties. If you live in one of these properties, a weekly charge is included with your rent. Where flow meters are not, or cannot be provided, the charge is calculated by dividing the annual cost of energy to reflect the number of radiators in each property. Where flow meters are provided, the weekly charge is estimated based on previous history, but is adjusted on the rent account at the end of each year to reflect the actual energy use in each property.

How is your rent calculated?

Your rent is calculated in accordance with the Government's Rent Restructuring Guidelines, using these factors, either locally determined or provided by the Government.

  • Property valuation
  • Average earnings in the Lancaster district
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Percentage rent increase
  • Maximum rent increase.

The property valuations only change where major improvement works have taken place, and will only affect rent from the next rent year.

When do you tell me about rent and service charge increases?

If we have to put up your rent and or/service charge, we have to give you at least 28 days written notice. Each March you will receive written notice of rent and any charges increase. A full breakdown of the charges is sent with each year's Notice of Rent Increase. The notice will always describe the average rent increase for all tenants. Your actual rent increase is described in How Your Rent Is Calculated. It may me more or less than the average.

When are 'no collection' weeks?

During each rent year there are a number of 'no collection' weeks which means that your normal rent is not due for these weeks. However, payments should still be made if you have rent arrears. Each year you will be sent a 'Rent First Please' card. The no collection weeks are shown on the back of this card.

Rent accounting

From time to time a tenant may accrue other debts, eg court costs or rechargeable repairs. The council has a policy that allows any existing credit on a rent or any other account to be transferred to help pay other debts. This is up to £500 without agreement with the tenant. Any additional balance over £500 is by negotiation with the tenant.

Last updated: 25 November 2016