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Fairfield Housing Association

2021/22 Rent Consultation

HAVE YOUR SAY ON YOUR RENT IN 2021 

We want to keep rents affordable for you, continue to deliver excellent services and to progress improvements to your homes. Regrettably, due to increasing costs the funds we need to properly maintain and manage your home, means we need to ask you to pay a little more in rent next year.  We are keen to get your views on the proposed annual rent increase from 1st April 2021. This article tells you about the options for the annual rent increase and provides a link to a questionnaire to complete to share your views.

The Housing Association Board will consider your views alongside other factors before making a final decision at their meeting in February 2021.

Fairfield Housing Association’s business plan currently includes a 3% increase to rents in 2021, however over the last year we have worked hard on the financial plans and introduced efficiencies which, I’m pleased to confirm, means it’s possible to consider a lower rent increase for next year. This year we are considering two options - an increase of 1.5% or 2%.

The annual rent increase must cover the costs of continuing to provide the full range of services, to you – our residents and allow us to effectively manage, maintain and make substantial investment in your homes.

The Board realises that many tenants are experiencing financial challenges during the current Covid-19 pandemic, therefore it was agreed to try and keep increases as low as possible for 2021/22. We also recognise however that there are many unknown factors that may arise next year which could impact on us, perhaps resulting in higher operating costs, which could mean the risk that future rent increases may need to be higher.  So we want to do all we can now to avoid this risk in the future.

We believe the lowest rent increase we can apply next year is 1.5%, which will allow us to;

  • continue providing the housing and customer services we currently provide, 
  • maintain the current target repairs response times and standards identified in the table below,
  • progress the property investment plans for 2021 and aim to achieve the future plans for the next 2 years, however the programme may need to be delayed slightly.

However, we also want your views on the option of increasing rents by 2%.  Under this option we will be able to do everything in option 1 and the additional 0.5% will generate a total of £12,000 in additional rental income. If you select this option we would like to obtain your views on how this should be spent, this could include the following:

  • the provision of enhanced advice and assistance services such as money or energy advice, or assistance with universal credit and benefits applications.
  • the money could be allocated to external improvements, identified and selected by tenants.
  • creation of a financial assistance fund to support tenants, who are experiencing difficulties as a result of Covid-19.
  • an alternative priority identified by tenants.

The average difference between the 1.5% and 2% increase ranges from 36 pence to 42 pence per week, based on average Fairfield rents. 

We know from listening to what you tell us that investment in property improvements is really important to tenants and it is your rent which pays for these services. If you would like to find out more about the future investment plans please contact us on 01738 630738, or email us on reception@fairfield-ha.org.uk and we will be delighted to let you know the improvements that are included in the current plan.

We recognise that service delivery, and particularly the repairs services, is important to tenants and the table below outlines the repairs standards we aim to achieve. We will also be consulting further with tenants on our repairs and maintenance policy in early next year:

Category

Repair

Definition

Target Response Time

1

Emergency

Any situation where there is an immediate danger to the tenant, property or by a member of public reporting. 

Within four hours and made safe, or repaired, within 24 hours of reporting.

2

Urgent

Where there is substantial inconvenience to the tenant but no immediate threat to health or security of property.

Three working days from the contractor receiving an order.

3

Standard

Non-urgent repairs where there is no immediate danger to the tenant or general public.

Five working days from the contractor receiving an order.

4

Re-Lets

Standard re-let repairs.

Ten working days from the contractor receiving an order.

5

Right to Repair

Small urgent repairs as defined by the Scottish Executive. 

Within four hours and made safe or repaired within 24 hours of reporting.

The Board feels that the Fairfield rent structure needs a comprehensive review to ensure tenants pay rent which recognises the property attributes and is fair in comparison to the size, quality and type of property. Once again, I’m pleased to confirm that the rent structure will be reviewed next year and you will be consulted on this separately during 2021. 

In addition to rent payments, some residents also pay for services such as communal lighting, close cleaning, landscaping etc. These charges normally increase in line with the rent increase, however we have a bit more control over these costs, therefore to help minimise the impact on tenants during 2021/22, the Board have agreed to freeze the services charge costs for one year, this means there will be no increase for service charges in April 2021. The basis of applying services charges will also be reviewed next year.

HOW TO HAVE YOUR SAY

In summary therefore: - we need to increase rents next year and we would like to hear your views on a rent increase, from 1st April 2021, based on the options of 1.5% or 2%. Please note we are proposing to freeze the service charge costs for next year, regardless of the rent increase applied. If you feel the 2% increase should be applied we would also like to hear your views on how this additional rental income should be spent.

 You can have your say through one of the following ways;

  • Return the questionnaire enclosed with your rent consultation letter, before Friday 8th January 2021.
  • Complete the survey online at https://cxfb.co.uk/sc/8A002E/8D0029
  • Complete the survey sent via text or email

Tenants will be sent a letter confirming the actual increase that is approved by the 1st March 2021.

If you have any queries on the above please contact us.


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