Rent and Service Charges - Questions and Answers
Why has the Council put the rent up for 2023-2024?
The Welsh Government gives the Council grants to help build new homes and to support the national Welsh Housing Quality Standard programme.
However, we get no subsidy at all from the government for day-to-day services for our tenants.
Everything we do on a daily basis included repairs and letting homes has to be paid for from the rent we receive from you. Each year though, costs go up for example the prices for building materials increase all the time. That means rents also need to go up to help cover these extra costs.
Rents also help cover the cost of borrowing for major improvements, such as new bathrooms, kitchens and windows.
How did the Council decide the change in my rent?
This year's rent increase has taken into account compliance with the Welsh Government's Policy for Social Housing Rents and also taken into account affordability for tenants of the whole cost of living in a property, including for example, rent, service charges and energy costs.
The Tenant Scrutiny Panel has also been involved in the discussions about setting rents for 2023-2024.
From April 3rd 2023 the average rent in Powys will increase by 5.36% for all 5,500 Council owned homes excluding service charges.
Service charges charged to HRA (Housing Revenue Account) tenants are amended from effect from April 3rd 2023 to allow the Council to recover the cost incurred in providing these services.
Weekly cost effect from April 3rd, 2023, for Careline is £1.21 per week.
Garage rents in Powys with effect from April 3rd 2023 are increased from £12.89 to £13.73 per week (£16.48 for non-tenants subject to VAT)
Garage plot charges, unless covered by a fixed rate agreed at the time of letting, from April 3rd 2023 have increased from £163.93 to £174.59 for the year.
Weekly occupation charge from April 3rd, 2023, charges for Gypsy and Traveller pitches will be increased by 5.36%, the average rent being £114.42.
Other rental and service charges, not detailed above, effect from April 3rd, 2023, will increase by 5.36%.
Why has my service charge changed?
Service charges are based on the actual cost of providing extra services to your home over and above the basic provision of maintenance, management, and long-term investment. These costs vary year-to-year so we change the service charge to match the cost of providing these services.
The charges calculated for 2023-24 are based on actual costs incurred in the period 2021/2022.
Why do I pay a service charge for a lift I never use?
Lifts are provided for everyone in a block to use. The service charge covers the cost of providing and maintaining the lift, which can be used by any tenant. Where a block benefits from a lift all the households are expected to contribute to the cost of providing this important facility.
I pay my water rates so why do I have to pay a service charge for sewerage to the Council?
Water rates are only for the supply of fresh water and not for sewerage. Your sewerage is processed through a system owned by the Council not the water company. The Council needs to recover the costs of providing this service for you.
I can't afford to pay my rent - what can I do?
Council rents are amongst the lowest in Powys - and all our properties are let through a Secure Occupation Contract, which under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act replaces the secure tenancy previously used.
That means that as long as you pay your rent and stick to the conditions of your contract, you have security of tenure for as long as you want to stay in your home. However, we do understand that there are times when it is difficult to pay bills such as rent.
If you think you may not be able to pay your rent, please call the Housing One number of 01597 827464 as soon as possible. We will be able to give you advice on how to avoid falling into rent arrears. We also have a team of Financial Support Officers who can help people manage their money and where possible claim help from the social security system - for example Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.
We are here to help so don't delay calling us if for whatever reason you are worried about making your rent payments.