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12. Pay Rent

12. Paying your rent

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Paying your rent

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Why do I need to pay rent? Your rent is important. Without it, we could not provide an effective housing service. Your rent pays for most of the services you receive from Stockport Homes. For example, it pays for anti-social behaviour staff, customer finance staff, repairs to your home and improvements to your estate.

Your rent pays for most of the services you receive from Stockport Homes.

The Customer Finance Team at Stockport Homes is responsible for collecting rent and managing rent arrears. You can find out what standards you can expect from them at the end of this section. The level of rent you pay is fixed by Stockport Council, using guidelines set out by the Government. When your rent is calculated, the guidelines consider the size and value of your home, its location and local earnings. This figure is called a ‘formula rent’. The formula rent is used to decide how much rent all social landlords can charge, including councils and housing associations. Your rent is due every Monday, unless you have contacted us to agree a different way of paying. You may also pay service charges if you benefit from extra services such as grounds maintenance or caretaking.

Service charges If you receive additional services, you will pay a charge for these as well as your rent. These services may include: • • • • • • • • • •

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grounds maintenance; caretaking; building and window cleaning; sheltered scheme support; Carecall; concierge; heating; communal lighting; entry phones; and TV aerials.

www.stockporthomes.org


Paying your rent

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Services delivered by Stockport Homes in addition to your rent: Grounds maintenance – 0161 474 4371 (west area) / 4372 (east area)

This covers the maintenance of open green spaces which are integral to Stockport Homes neighbourhoods. In particular, grass cutting, shrub and hedge maintenance and weed control. The service charge payable varies across tenancies dependant upon the grounds maintenance service delivered in the locality.

Caretaking Service 0161 218 1498

The Caretaking Service charge covers the services provided by caretakers across the Borough. They look after the communal parts of buildings, working to ensure areas are clean, safe and monitored. They show prospective tenants around and liaise with contractors to ensure the upkeep and maintenance of the premises.

Stockport Homes deliver a number of services in addition to your rent.

Building and window cleaning – 0161 474 4371 (west area) / 4372 (east area) This charge covers the communal cleaning and window cleaning at all sheltered schemes and at 50 other housing developments throughout the Borough.

Sheltered Scheme Support Service – 0161 218 1655

This allows you to live independently within your own home by offering you support 24 hours a day through a designated Scheme Manager and backed up by the Carecall Service. As part of the service you will have an individual support plan, and someone to turn to if you need a helping hand. The schemes also offer you some additional facilities such as a communal lounge and kitchen used for a wide range of social activities and a laundry room.

Carecall Service – 0500 130 585

This covers a monitoring and mobile warden response service 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. The service, which is an integral part of the tenancy, enables you to remain independent in your own home and gives peace of mind to you, your relatives and friends. If you have had a fall or need help you can raise the alarm and one of the trained call handlers can see relevant information and are able to ask questions through the Carecall system. www.stockporthomes.org

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Paying your rent

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Concierge Service – 0161 474 3840

Your concierge charge pays for the concierge services to your block. Your charge covers the concierge, CCTV monitoring, door entry service and the maintenance of the systems required to operate both the CCTV and door entry, which will ensure you live in an area with enhanced security, reduced crime and anti-social behaviour aimed at improving the quality of life in your area.

Heating – 0161 217 6016

If you receive additional services, you will pay a charge for these as well as your rent.

Your heating charge will not only pay for the heating of the blocks where you live, but will also give you peace of mind in that you will receive a maintenance service and 24 hours a day, 365 days a year call-out service for failure of heating and hot water. Heating charges are not eligible for Housing Benefit and therefore where tenants live in a property covered by a communal heating system all tenants are required to pay the charge in full regardless of their income.

Communal lighting – 0161 217 6016

Your communal lighting service charge ensures the areas in your blocks are well lit. To ensure you continue to feel confident that the money you are paying is being used with the greatest efficiency, there is a programme to ensure light fittings are replaced with the most efficient fitting available.

Entry phones – 0161 217 6016

Providing a secure entry phone system, the charge covers maintenance, service and call outs. Any systems identified as below standard are upgraded with newer technology to ensure the property continues to be secure.

TV aerials – 0161 217 6016

Your TV aerial charge covers responsive maintenance and call out costs. There is a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year call out service for customers.

Water charges – 0161 474 1669

Stockport Homes collect water charges as part of weekly rent on behalf of United Utilities and in doing so you receive an annual discount of £10. United Utilities still calculate your water charges in conjunction with OFWAT (the water industry regulator) and then inform Stockport Homes of the amount they need to collect from you. Water charges are not eligible for Housing Benefit and therefore all tenants are required to pay water charges regardless of their income.

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www.stockporthomes.org


Paying your rent

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A complete breakdown of the service charges and water charges is given in the notice we send to you every year about any rent changes.

Housing Benefit If you are struggling to pay your rent because you are on a low income or are unemployed, you may be entitled to Housing Benefit. You can get an application form from your Area Housing Office or from: Housing Benefit Section Stockport Council, PO Box 70 Stockport SK1 3ZY Tel: 0161 217 6015 You can also submit an application for Housing Benefit online at www.stockport.gov.uk

We aim to make it as simple as possible for you to pay your rent and service charges.

Ways to pay your rent We aim to make it as simple as possible for you to pay your rent and service charges by offering a variety of ways to pay:

Direct debit

You can pay your rent by direct debit weekly (every Monday) or monthly (on 1st, 8th, 15th or 22nd) and receive an annual discount for doing so. Please phone the Customer Finance Team to arrange this.

At a post office, PayPoint or Payzone outlet

You can pay at any Post Office, PayPoint or Payzone outlet displaying the PayPoint or Payzone logo, using a swipe card. Post Offices are open on Saturday mornings and many PayPoint outlets are open seven days a week and late at night. For a free payment swipe card, please phone 0161 474 2668 or 0161 474 2677.

www.stockporthomes.org

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Paying your rent

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On the internet

You can pay with a debit or credit card at www.stockport.gov.uk/payments

By telephone

You can pay using a debit or credit card by telephoning 0161 474 4050. This service is available 24 hours a day.

At some time you may have problems paying your rent. There are lots of ways we can help you.

What to do if you fall into arrears At some time you may have problems paying your rent and / or water charges. Many people have difficulty with rent because they have other money problems. There are lots of different ways we can help you, so please contact us as soon as you have any problems and we will give you advice and support. If you find it difficult to meet your rent payments you should: • Contact the Customer Finance Team at 1 St. Peter’s Square in person or telephone them. If you live in the east area, call 0161 474 2677. If you live in the west area call 0161 474 2668. • Avoid making agreements you can’t keep. This will only lead to more problems. • Choose a payment method that is convenient to you then you won’t miss further payments. • Always respond to letters or phone calls as soon as possible as delays will cause more problems. • Ask us for money advice. Staff working with rent arrears are fully trained to give it. In most cases we will be able to help you, and by taking early action you may be able to avoid court proceedings and extra costs.

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www.stockporthomes.org


Paying your rent

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Independent advice If you would like independent advice about rent arrears or other debts, you can contact Citizens Advice or a solicitor. You may be entitled to legal aid but this will depend on your personal circumstances. Please see the contact details for various other advice organisations below. If you wish to be referred for independent debt advice, please contact the Customer Finance Team on 0161 474 2677 (east area) or 0161 474 2668 (west area).

Incentives Stockport Homes encourages customers to keep a clear rent account. We enter customers who maintain a clear rent account into a six monthly cash prize draw. In addition, if you pay by direct debit, you will receive a discount on your annual rent.

For independent advice about rent arrears or other debts, you can contact Citizens Advice or a solicitor.

Debt advice through Stockport Homes Debt Outreach Worker

0161 218 1304

Water Metering Project 0161 218 1669 Officer (advice on water debt and the most economic water tariff based upon individual circumstances)

Independent rent advice / financial assistance Organisation

Contact details

Welfare Rights Service

0161 474 3093

Debt Advice Service

0161 474 3093

Stockport Citizens Advice

0844 826 9800

Age UK

0161 480 1211

National Debtline

0808 808 4000

www.stockporthomes.org

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Paying your rent

County court

0161 477 2020

Stockport Credit Union

0161 430 5808

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Local advice and information centres are conveniently located around Stockport and can help you with a range of problems, including some debt advice. Please get in touch for details of your nearest centre by calling 0161 217 6009.

Local advice and information centres are conveniently located around Stockport and can help you with a range of problems, including some debt advice.

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www.stockporthomes.org

Paying your rent  

£ 111 12. Pay Rent Your rent pays for most of the services you receive from Stockport Homes. • grounds maintenance; • caretaking; • building...

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