Changes to housing rents and benefits

Major changes to benefits and the rents charged by housing associations are on the horizon - and the council is keen to make sure that all those who may be affected, now and in the future, get information and advice they need. National changes to how housing associations let some of their properties will have an impact on new tenants and, in some cases, tenants moving from one home to another:

  • Tenants renting a housing association property for the first time, and in some cases moving from one property to another, may no longer have the automatic right to stay in that property for life
  • There have also been changes to the rights some tenants had, to allow them to pass on their tenancies to their children
  • New tenants and those moving from one housing association property to another may find that their rent will no longer be at the current ‘social’ rent level of somewhere around 45 to 50% of the average equivalent rent charged by a private landlord. This is because new ‘affordable’ rents - which may be up to 80% of the equivalent private rent and so higher than social rents - are being introduced nationally on some new properties and properties that are re-let.

What could these changes mean to me?

The changes could mean:

  • you might not get all of your rent paid by housing benefit as the rules are changing
    if you are a new tenant you may no longer have a guarantee of a tenancy for life, it may only be for a limited period of between two to five years (depending on the property type and landlord)
    social housing might not be as affordable for you as it used to be as rents are likely to increase - for example:
    • affordable rent on a three-bedroomed house £165 per week – the social rent would be £110 per week
    • affordable rent on a two-bedroomed house is £128 per week – the social rent is £85 per week.

What properties will ‘affordable rents’ be charged for?

New tenancies offered to those on the council’s housing register may be charged at this new ‘affordable’ rent. Whether an affordable rent is charged on a property will depend on the policy of the housing association offering the properties. The main housing associations that the council nominates people from the housing register to are:

How will I know the rent I will have to pay on a property?

The council advertises all available properties in the borough, apart from sheltered housing, for rent from housing associations through a website called Homebid for people on the housing register. The level of rent will be made clear on the website as part of the details of the property so that prospective tenants are aware how much it would cost per month to live there before they make a bid. The success of a bid is usually decided based on the housing need ‘band’ and the number of housing ‘points’, indicating level of housing need, of all those bidding for a particular property.

Changes to housing benefit

For further information on the changes, please visit our webpage claiming housing benefit and/or council tax support.

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