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Annual Rent & Service Charge Review – frequently asked questions

We are currently writing to our residents to let them know that our annual review of their rent and service charge has taken place.

Every time that we notify tenants of this review we do notice some recurring questions.

So, we have put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers to help you better understand your rent statement.

Why has my rent and service charge gone up?

Your tenancy agreement allows Ocean to review your rent and service charges each year.

How has my new rent and service charge been calculated?

Your rent has been increased by CPI (Consumer Price index) plus 1% and your service charge is reflective of our actual costs incurred (during 2020/21) in providing the services that you receive.

I pay by Direct Debit, do I need to do anything?

As part of the review process we will automatically adjust your direct debit to reflect the new amount that you must pay. A new payment schedule will be sent to you soon.

What do I need to do?

You will need to ensure that your payments equal the new total amount that you must pay, unless, you pay by Direct Debit, in which case, we will do this for you and send you a new payment schedule.

I get Housing Benefit, do I need to do anything?

We will give Cornwall Council details of your new rent and service charge, however, you must notify them if there are any changes to your personal circumstances which may affect your entitlement.

I get Universal Credit, do I need to do anything?

You will need to tell the Department of Work and Pensions of your new rent and service    charge.

You can report this by signing into your on line Universal Credit account and completing   the “to do” list, or telephone 0800 328 5644 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday.

You will need to report both eligible and ineligible service charges which we have listed on your increase letter to make it easier for you.

You must report these changes on Monday 5th April 2021 or at the earliest opportunity thereafter.

Any changes reported before Monday 5th April will not be applied and you may lose out on money that you could be entitled to.

Any changes reported too late may not be backdated and you could lose out on money that you may be entitled to.

What is a service charge?

If you pay a service charge then this will be to cover the costs in providing services which enable you to enjoy living in your home.

This can include services such as grounds maintenance, communal cleaning, communal utility supplies like electricity, lifts, door entry systems, aerial systems and many more things which your property shares in common with neighbouring homes.

What is a personal charge?

A personal charge is personal to you. This can include services such as a stairlift or window cleaning. These charges are also ineligible under Universal Credit/Housing Benefit.

I can’t afford to pay the rent

We can arrange for a customer account advisor to speak to you. They can help if you have any concerns about being able to afford your new rent and service charge.

How can I view details of my rent and service charge?

You can review your rent statement at any time online via My Ocean or the Ocean Housing App available on the App Store and Play Store.

Should you have any further questions regarding this, please contact us by emailing help@oceanhousing.com or by calling 01726 874450.

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