It’s coming up to that time of year when rent and service charges are reviewed. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions to help you understand the changes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the questions below to jump straight to the answers.
‘My Ocean‘ is a personalised online service where you can login to view your rent account and repairs via the website.
To register, click the Sign in/Sign up link at the top of this page.
Ocean is always keen to improve our services to our customers, so if you are comfortable using your mobile phone to send and receive text messages, you can keep up to date with your rent account by text. It does not cost anything to receive texts from Ocean and you can send texts to us at your normal rate, network charges may apply.
If you would like to start using our texting service, please phone 01726 874450 to register your mobile phone number with us or use our online contact form to tell us your contact details, making sure you provide your preferred email address and mobile phone number.
Once your mobile phone is registered with Ocean, just text any of these commands to our new text number:
BAL – for a balance enquiry
PAY – to find out about your last rent payment
CARD – to order a replacement payment card
RENT – If you require some help and would like us to call you back
My rent is paid by Housing Benefit. Do I need to do anything?
We will tell the Housing Benefit team about the new charges and they will send you a new Housing Benefit entitlement letter around March/April time. Housing Benefit will also inform us of your new entitlement. If you pay part of your rent yourself you may need to increase your payments.
You can access your Housing Benefit account online to get up to date information about your claim at www.cornwall.gov.uk/benefits. Select the option to view your benefits account online.
Please remember that your Housing Benefit claim is your responsibility, and if you have had a change in your rent, personal circumstances, your income or your household size, you must tell Cornwall Council Housing Benefit.
I pay my rent by Direct Debit. Do I need to do anything?
If you pay by Direct Debit you don’t need to do anything. We will make the necessary adjustments to your regular Direct Debit payment. You will be notified of your new payment schedule for the next twelve months in mid-March.
I pay my rent by Standing Order. Do I need to do anything?
If you pay by Standing Order, you will need to adjust your payment amount to reflect the new rent/service charge.
Why is my rent different to my neighbour’s?
Your rent may be different to your neighbours depending on the type of tenancy you have.
What is a Service Charge?
Service charges cover the day to day running costs of the areas that are shared at the scheme where you live. The most common services include grounds maintenance for your estate, and cleaning of communal areas.
Service charges also cover the cost of maintenance and repair to equipment within shared areas such as lifts, communal TV aerials, door entry systems and fire equipment.
Service charges and Universal Credit
Some working age tenants will be in receipt of Universal Credit which rolls 6 benefits including housing benefit into one new benefit.
The government rules on Universal Credit mean that in some cases not all of the service charges due will qualify for Universal Credit.
Your increase letter will tell you which charges are eligible for Universal Credit, and it is your responsibility to inform the Department of Work and Pensions about eligible service charges on your property.
Please contact the Universal Credit Service Centre on 0345 600 0723 – lines open 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday.
What is a personal charge?
Some residents also pay a personal charge and this is shown as a separate charge on your schedule. For example, charges that relate only to your property such as utility costs. Personal charges are not eligible for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
Why has my service charge changed?
Your service charge is based on how much we know or estimate it will reasonably cost to run the services at your scheme or property for the year to come. We base our calculations on what we spent in previous years along with our knowledge of issues where you live. This may result in either an increase or decrease depending on how costs have risen on your scheme during the year.
Where can I get help with paying my rent?
Ocean’s Customer Accounts team is here to provide advice and assistance to any Ocean customer who is worried about paying their rent. If you have any concerns about this please contact us. We are here to help.
We hope this answers your questions about the changes to your rent and service charges
If you have any other questions relating to this change please:
How to Pay
Your rent for the whole year is added together and divided into 12 equal payments, which are collected automatically from your bank account on the first working day of the month.
Please complete the form and send it back to Ocean Housing.
Your payments are calculated the same as for Direct Debit, but you have to fill in the bank mandate each time your rent changes and give it to your bank. You can choose between weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments, and also the day that the payment is made.
Complete and send to your bank.
During Office Hours 8.30am-5pm
0844 557 8321
Please write Cheques and Postal Orders payable to Ocean Housing Ltd, including your tenancy name and address on the back for reference, and send to:
Ocean Housing Ltd
Take your Ocean Housing Allpay card with you when paying in person, either at Ocean’s Head Office, at your local post office or wherever you see the PayPoint sign.