2014/15 AHP Rent and Service Charge Notification


February 2014

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A consultation was undertaken through AHP’s website in January following notification sent to all tenants in December providing information on how to participate. The information included what to do if tenants needed any help in participating.

Views were sought on the proposed rent increase for 2014/15 and we very much welcomed the feedback we received from those tenants who responded. AHP has considered the comments returned to us.

However, after taking account of the latest annual budget review AHP’s Board remains of the view that the 5% increase contained in the current plan should continue to be applied for 2014/15 as this is particularly critical to the forthcoming financial year. The increase is applied alongside the rent harmonisation process that tenants are already aware of.

Your new rent will be effective from 1st April 2014. Details of your new monthly rent, service charge and total monthly charge are shown on the formal Notice that has been sent to all tenants.

Very comprehensive information and consultation processes have been undertaken in recent years which have explained AHP’s business plan requirements. The rent harmonisation process and incremental increases applied to date have been essential in ensuring we can meet our obligations to comply with Scottish Housing Quality Standards (SHQS) by 2015 whilst ensuring the level of viability as a landlord expected by our lenders and the Scottish Housing Regulator.

We do recognise that rent increases can create unwelcome pressures on household budgets. However, tenants should be reassured 2014/15 will be the final year of the harmonisation programme incorporating the 5% increases for all but a very small minority of tenants.

Important Further Information

We do wish to emphasise to our tenants that if you do have any concerns about the possibility of the rent increase causing financial difficulty, we will do everything we can to provide advice and support.

It is very important for those tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit and other support that you remain aware of the ongoing changes to housing and welfare benefits that are being implemented under the UK government’s welfare benefit reforms. If you are considered to have more bedrooms than you require under the new rules this may particularly apply. Please note if you are in receipt of benefits and/or other allowances you may be entitled to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) from the Council.

If you are currently receiving Housing Benefit, we will inform Aberdeenshire Council of your new rent and service charges. However, if you wish to check if you will be affected by any of the Benefit changes or, more generally, if you are finding it difficult to pay your rent please contact your Housing Officer direct or call 01224 548000 for advice. . In addition you may find it useful to refer to Aberdeenshire Council’s web site at: www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk

If you pay by Standing Order, and wish to continue to do so, you should contact your bank immediately to increase your payment instruction. If you don’t already do so and you wish to pay by Direct Debit, please call the office and this can be set up immediately.

Should you currently pay by Direct Debit, we will arrange for this to be amended. You will receive a letter from ALLPAY.net informing you of your new Direct Debit amount and when the first payment will be collected.

If you have any other queries please do not hesitate to contact us on 01224 548000 or by e mail on: enquiries@ospreyhousing.org.uk

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