Rent levels - how rent charges are set
How your rent is set
The rent for each individual property will be changed from April 2014 in line with the national rent formula introduced by the Government in 2002. The formula takes into account the average earnings for the West Midlands, the number of bedrooms in the property and the valuation of that property at 1999 prices. The rent charged from April 2014 will increase the average annual rent levels for 2014/15 by 5.80 per cent when compared with the average charged for 2013/14. This is the average across the city and some tenants may see a slightly higher or slightly lower increase than this average.
How do we decide how much to increase your rent by?
Any rent increases use the Retail Price Index (RPI) as a factor in setting the increase. The RPI measures the rate of inflation in the UK, and rent increases are set using the RPI that applied in the previous September. This is 3.2% for 2014/15.
We also limit rent increases so that an increase in the annual rent charged cannot be higher than RPI + 0.5% + £2 per week.
How your service charge levels are set
Service Charges are set in line with national guidelines that say they have to be separated from the rent for your property and fully cover the costs of providing that particular service. A range of service charges (but not all) are payable depending on the services provided to tenants and may include concierge, cleaning communal lighting and sheltered accommodation.
The council put into place a policy of recovering the full service costs over a five-year period from October 2002 to October 2007. This is now complete and charges are now made for the actual cost of the service. Service charges will increase by 1.75 per cent from April 2014 to reflect the increasing costs of service delivery. The majoy exception to this is the Concierge & Night-time Security Service that is subject to a fundamental review and will be the subject of a separate report to a future cabinet meeting (service charges will be kept at 2013/14 levels for this service).
All service charges are separately calculated for each district to reflect local service costs and will also be levied over a 48 week cycle alongside the weekly rent.
PO Box 16564
0121 675 2006
Why is Birmingham City Council putting up rent?
We, like most other local authorities, are increasing all of our rents in line with a formula laid down by the government. Social housing providers have followed this formula for over ten years.
Why is the percentage rent increase so high when interest rates are so low at the moment?
The government issues an annual statement which contains the formula for calculating the rent increases see how your rent is set. The rent is calculated over 48 weeks and not 52 weeks which means that the rent increase might appear bigger than it is.
What is the formula that is used to calculate the rent increase?
See 'How your rent is set' at the top of this page.
Has the rent on my garage increased?
Yes, the average garage rent has increased from £5.44 a week to £5.87 a week. This is an average increase of 7.9%. For further information visit our Renting a Garage page.
I am unable to afford my new rent, what options do I have?
If your circumstances have changed you may be eligible to Housing Benefit. You can make a claim online at www.birmingham.gov.uk/benefits.
You may also wish to consider alternative options such as a mutual exchange or a transfer. For further information visit www.birminghamhomechoice.org.uk.
If you are facing debt or rent arrears, please contact us as soon as possible. The earlier you speak to us, the more we can help. Birmingham City Council’s trained staff are able to give advice to residents including help with applying for housing benefit and a referral to our specialist Debt Advice team.
Where can I find help to manage my money?
The links below will take you to useful websites that will help you make the most of your money:
Benefits Calculator - Get an estimate of what benefits you could get (including Housing Benefit).
Make a Housing Benefit claim online - If you are having problems paying your rent or Council Tax, then you might be able to get help towards paying these bills.
Report a change in circumstances to Benefits - If your circumstances have changed report this online to Benefit Services.
The Money Advice Service - Carry out a free online money health check or use some of the other helpful online tools, such as the money stretcher calculator.
Citizens Advice Bureau - Get free online advice on your rights including benefits, housing, employment, debt and legal matters.
Birmingham City Council Debt Advice Service - The Debt Advice Team takes a realistic and practical approach to helping people who are experiencing severe debt problems.
Department of Work and Pensions - Get information on benefits, pensions and jobs.
Citysave Credit Union - This is a community based financial organisation. It offers accounts such as savings, bill payment and budgeting and loans.
Loan Sharks - Find out how to get help if you have been affected by illegal money lenders (also known as loan sharks).