Rent affordability review

Written by
25th February, 2021

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Rent affordability review

During the summer last year we invited 3,400 of our residents to take part in our rent affordability consultation. In total 1,234 residents took part in the survey, equating to 36% of those asked, which is a fantastic response. We would like to thank all of you who joined us online on Facebook, Zoom or email and to those who answered the consultation questions over the phone and by post.

Of those who responded 93% told us that they agreed with Melin using the Joseph Rowntree method of setting rents, to make them fairer and affordable. This method known as the living rent method states that no household’s rent should be more than 28% of their net weekly income. From April 2021, 87% of our homes will be included in this new model for setting rents.

How is the living rent calculated?

We assess the average income from data provided by the Office of National Statistics. This gives us an estimate of lower earners in the areas where we have properties. This will be done every year to make sure our figures are up to date. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation says that housing costs are unaffordable if they are over a third of a household’s income. For this reason, we use 28% of the average income for the lower earners to set our rents.

We have adjusted the rents for different property sizes and types by considering the smallest families that would be allocated to our homes.

For example, most of our one-bedroom properties are occupied by single people, so the Living Rent for these properties is based on the income of an individual who is in work.

The Living Rents for our larger homes are higher as more family members will tend to be living in them. We have considered how a family’s income and outgoings change as house size changes.

What if I claim Universal Credit?

If you receive Universal Credit, you will need to notify the DWP through your online portal after 6 April 2021 to tell them if your rent has increased. They may continue to pay the old rent amount until you notify them of the increase. It’s important that you tell them that you don’t have any free weeks and are charged every week of the year.

What if I claim Housing Benefit?

We will notify the Local Authority of any rent increases and you do not have to do anything.

I need help to pay my rent

Whether your circumstances have changed, you have been given fewer hours at work, or your benefits have been cut, our Money Advice Team can provide help to ease the pressure on your finances. Give the team a call on 01495 745910 or email moneyadvice@melinhomes.co.uk

What’s next?

We are now looking at our service charges to ensure they are as low as possible and provide you with value for money. We will keep you informed as this work progresses.

If you would like further information on the consultation process please contact communuities@melinhomes.co.uk, or for more information on what the rent affordability model means to you please email enquiries@melinhomes.co.uk or call 01495 745910.

Corporate, Residents

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