Annual rent and service charges - Frequently Asked Questions March 2023

Why is my rent going up? 

Each year, we must follow the Government’s guidance on the rents we charge.  

After consultation with the Cornwall Housing Tenants’ Forum, the council decided to set its rents in line with the government’s direction and have capped the increase to a 7% rise for all existing tenants. 

Normally rents go up by the rate of inflation plus 1%. This would have meant rent increases would have been 11.1% higher. However, this year the Government has capped the rent increase at 7% to help with the cost-of-living pressures. 

Will my garage rent increase? 

Cornwall Council have increased Garage rents by 10.1%. This means that Council Tenants’ garages rent have increased from £11.05 to £12.17 per week.  

Non-Council Tenants’ garage rents have increased from £15.33 to £16.88 per week (£12.17 plus £1.90 Supplement plus £2.81 VAT). 

How will this increase affect my Housing Benefit? 

If you are receive Housing Benefit, you will automatically get your claims recalculated and you will receive a letter with your new entitlement in March. 

Please note – some people may have recently moved from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit. Please check what you claim, as the increase will affect you differently. 

How will this increase affect my Universal Credit? 

If you receive Universal Credit, either paid directly to you or direct to Cornwall Council, you must update your online Universal Credit journal.  

This needs to be done on Monday 3rd April 2023. The UC system cannot process the change in advance and any delays updating this may result in under or over payments, which will need to be corrected. 

Here’s the link to log into your account, where you can update your Journal: 

Sign in to your Universal Credit account - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

Here’s more information about other support available to you: 

Universal Credit: Other financial support - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

What happens if I pay my rent by Direct Debit? 

Anyone paying by direct debit will receive a letter in March with your new collection amounts and dates from April 2023. 

Will my service charges be increasing? 

Service charges are calculated based on actual spend by Cornwall Housing, so it is not affected by the Government rent increases. The majority of service charges are covered by Housing Benefit / Universal Credit, however the following are not covered as they are personal charges not communal. 

GAS – Individual gas for flat (Albion Court & Diana Close) 

HWAT – Hostel personal water (Polruan & Hendra Parc) 

OIL – Oil heating (Ponsmere Court & Clease Meadow) 

SEWEMP – Sewerage Emptying 

I am struggling to pay my rent, where can I get help? 

If you are struggling to pay your rent, the first point of contact is our Rent Management Team. Just call 0300 1234 161 and ask to speak to your Rent Management Officer. 

There are also some other useful contacts and information about support you can get here.