FAQ: Rent & Benefits Changes
At Linc, we use government guidelines to set your rent each year, and any changes will be detailed in your contract or lease agreement; new contracts are already starting to be sent out, and all Linc customers should receive their new contracts by June 1st. If you haven’t received your contract by then, please get in contact with us.
In addition to rent, some customers may pay a service charge for receiving communal services where they live, e.g. gardening, window cleaning, fire alarm testing/replacing, door entry, scheme management service, etc. Some of these services are eligible for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and some are ineligible, meaning Housing Benefit or Universal Credit cannot cover these charges.
In our previous blog, ‘Changes to Rent and Services: Everything You Need to Know’ we broke down the changes that were about to be put in place in light of Julie James’ announcement back in late 2022. As expected with change, we’ve received lots of questions from our customers, and we want to help you to understand the recent increase in rent and updates to your benefits.
Here are the FAQs we’ve been asked and the answers to go along with them:
Q. What do I do if I cannot afford the increase?
A. If you’re struggling to pay your rent, get in touch with our friendly Income Team who can have a chat with you about next steps. We know that rising costs will be a significant challenge for many of our customers, so we’ve put together some helpful advice and information on making sure you get the maximum amount of income you’re entitled to and the most out of your money.
Find out what you could get on our Tenancy Ready Advice and Support page.
Q. I’m on Universal Credit, will I have to re-apply and will this mean weeks of delays in my rent being paid and accumulating rent arrears?
A. The simple answer is: No, you don’t need to complete a brand new claim with the Department for Work and Pensions. Once we write to inform you of the new rent and service charge (if applicable), Universal Credit will prompt you in your journal in April. You can then tell them of your new rent and service charge – this is the only time you need to respond about the new rent.
Q. What if Universal Credit doesn’t cover the rent increase?
A. If your Universal Credit allowance isn’t increased to cover the additional rent charge, get in touch with our Income Team to make arrangements to pay any shortfall. They can also direct you to useful, friendly organisations who can help you budget for the increase.
Q. What if I claim Housing Benefit?
A. If you’re a Linc customer and have your Housing Benefit paid directly to us we’ll inform the Housing Benefit team at your local council of the new charges from April. However, it is your responsibility to ensure your entitlement has been reviewed and increased. We always advise customers to speak to Housing Benefit directly if you have any queries or concerns.
Q. Do I have to adjust my direct debit with my bank?
A. Don’t worry, your direct debit will be adjusted automatically. After we write notifying you of your rent increase, we’ll adjust your direct debit and you’ll receive information to confirm your new monthly payments.
If you have a repayment plan for rent arrears, we’ll add the additional amount onto your monthly direct debit total. We’ll amend your new payments in line with the new charge.
Q. What if I am in arrears?
A. We’re always here to help, so please get in touch with our income Team for support, or you can contact your local neighbourhood officer or scheme manager for help. They will discuss repayment options and support you to get your account back on track and will also advise you on where you can find additional support if needed.
There you have it, there’s some FAQs on the recent rent and benefits changes and how Linc are striving to best support customers during this time. For more information on the new Renting Homes Act and how Linc will support our customers, get in touch for a chat.