Rent and service charge FAQs

You can find answers to frequently asked questions below to better understand how we calculate rent and charges, when rent is due, what to do if you find yourself in arrears, and much more.

Your tenancy agreement or lease will set out how much your rent will be at the start of the contract, along with information about how and when the amount can change as we review your rent each year. You can view your statement online.

Read more about how we review tenants' rents.

It's your responsibility to make sure that your rent is paid regularly and on time.

Homeowners: Your rent and service charge are due on the first day of each month. If you pay by Direct Debit, we collect the payment on the first day of each month from your bank account. If the amount changes, we will let you know beforehand.

Tenants: You must pay your rent one week or one month in advance, depending on the terms of your tenancy agreement. If you have a weekly tenancy, you can pay every fortnight or every month, but your rent account balance must always be one week in credit.

Please check your rent statement online against your own record of payments and raise any questions with your housing officer. Note that joint tenants are jointly and equally responsible for paying the whole rent amount.

We often provide management and maintenance services to residents, particularly in larger blocks of flats or estates, which are paid for in your service charge. Such services may include:

  • Cleaning of shared areas
  • Phones
  • Lift maintenance
  • Heating
  • Hot water
  • Lighting in communal areas
  • Gardening and grounds maintenance
  • Community caretakers, scheme or night managers or concierge.

Your tenancy agreement or lease will list the services that are covered by your service charge, which is set annually. Homeowners, you can read more about how it's collected and what it's used for. We usually require you to pay this charge in advance towards the cost of running the building. This is so that there are funds available to cover any costs that arise.

These charges are reviewed every year to enable us to recover what we expect the services to cost and may go up or down. If you pay a service charge you will have a detailed breakdown of these charges in your rent notice every year.

Housing benefit

Housing benefit does not cover some charges, such as heating and hot water, so you may have to pay for these yourself. These charges are reviewed every year and may go up or down.

Nobody can know all of the costs that may be incurred by a building in advance of a year. On new buildings this is even more difficult. So whoever manages the building will have to make an estimate.

Each year you will receive a statement showing how the service charges have been spent. Statements are usually issued six months after the end of the previous financial year. The statement will show the costs estimated for the previous financial year and how much was actually spent. The actual costs may be more or less than the estimated costs.

If there is a surplus this will be refunded back to residents but any shortfall will be due for immediate payment. The statement will also show if any amount has been collected and put into a reserve fund to cover the future costs of major work.

If you do not pay your rent or service charge, or if you fail to keep to an arrangement to pay your arrears, we will take legal action, which could result in you losing your home.

We will send you automatic notifications if your account falls into arrears. To avoid this happening, and to keep on top of your rent and service charge payments, make sure to sign up for your online account.

Falling behind with your payments may also lead to the following problems:

  • A court order can affect your credit rating and you may not be able to borrow money
  • You will have to pay the cost of any court hearing and associated solicitors fees
  • If you are a tenant looking to transfer, the process may be affected by rent arrears
  • We will not allow any mutual exchange to go ahead until you have paid the arrears
  • If you lose your home, your local council may refuse to re-house you on the grounds that you have made yourself 'intentionally homeless'
  • Banks, building societies or other lending agencies can ask us for references on your payments; a poor reference may affect your eligibility for a mortgage or other loan.

If you have any concerns about paying your rent or service charge please discuss them immediately with your housing officer or PMO so they can be resolved as soon as possible. You can contact your housing officer or PMO by logging in or registering for My Account. You can also read more about benefits and money in our budgeting advice section.

If you pay a furniture charge, this is because you chose to have a 'furnished tenancy' when you moved into your home. This means we provided you with furniture when you moved in and you pay a charge each week.

The furniture charge in your rent will stay at a fixed level for four years (or any shorter period stated in your tenancy agreement). After this time we will review the charge and we will usually remove the furniture charge, which may mean you pay less total weekly rent.

Even if you are no longer making weekly payments for furniture, the furniture still belongs to us. You may keep the furniture for as long as you stay in your home but you must ask our permission before you remove it.

We no longer offer furnished tenancies to all customers, only those living in our housing with care and support.

They are specific to residents who live in a property designed to offer care and support services and are paid in addition to service charges. They relate to water, gas and electricity usage for individual properties, meal charges, community alarms systems and Council Tax.

Housing Benefit does not cover personal charges, so you may have to pay these charges yourself.

You may be able to receive benefits to help pay your rent. Read more about benefits and get tips on how to manage your money.

Residents who rent a home often have lower credit ratings than those who own. This is often because mortgage payments count towards your credit rating but rental payments do not.

We work with Experian and Big Issue Invest to help you improve your credit rating and make the most of your rent payments through the Rental Exchange.

Read more about the Rental Exchange.

If you're uncertain or have any questions, please contact your housing officer or PMO by logging in or registering for My Account.

If you're a prospective NHG tenant you'll be given the choice of opting in or out of the scheme as part of the tenancy sign-up process.

Read more about the Rental Exchange.