Claimant commitments that were previously relaxed due to Covid-19 are being reintroduced. If you are claiming universal credit, please be mindful of this and make sure to check your online journal.
If you need some help understanding what this means for you, please get in contact with our rent team.
Our bank details
Silva Homes Ltd, Barclays Bank.
Sort code: 20-00-00.
Account number: 50548359.
Our rents are increasing by 1.5% from April 2021
Why is my rent increasing?
The maximum amount that landlords can increase rents by each year is set by the Regulator for Social Housing in England (the housing regulator).
In November 2019, the housing regulator informed landlords that they could raise rents by the maximum of the consumer price index from the September of the previous year plus 1%. This means that from April 2021 rents will increase by 1.5% (CPI in September 2020 was 0.5% plus 1% = 1.5%).
Most of our customers will see their rent increase by only £2 to £3 per week.
Why is my rent going up by exactly 1.5%?
The housing regulator allows landlords to increase rent by a maximum of 1.5% from April 2021. We have decided to raise rents by the full amount this year because until 2020 we had reduced rents in each of the four previous years, which has impacted our ability to improve our homes and build new ones. The money raised by this year’s rent increase will all be used to build new homes and improve our homes and services.
What will my rent money get spent on?
As a not-for-profit business with no dividends to pay to shareholders, all our income is spent on our homes and services. Rent makes up the majority of our income, so our rents are increasing by the full 1.5% so that we can keep improving our homes and services and providing new affordable homes.
Do I need to let Housing Benefit know that my rent is increasing?
No. We have informed your local authority of our rent increases, so they are already aware.
It is your responsibility to tell your local authority about any other changes in circumstances that affect your claim for housing benefit.
Do I need to let Universal Credit know that my rent is increasing?
Yes. You must add your new rent to your online journal as soon as possible after 5 April, which is when your new rent starts. If you don’t provide your new rent amount, you might not be paid enough by Universal Credit to cover your rent.
Please do not update your new rent in your journal before 5 April, as it may affect how much Universal Credit you receive.
Will my direct debit payments be updated automatically?
Yes. If you pay your rent by direct debit, we will automatically adjust your rent payments. You will be informed of this by letter in the week beginning 15 March, outlining the new amount you will need to pay.
You can set up a direct debit in My Silva. Just sign in or register and then click on ‘My Accounts’.
What are there other charges on my letter?
There may be other charges, other than rent, mentioned in your letter. These will either be garage charges, if your property comes with a garage, or service charges for blocks of flats or services around your home. Service charges will have an accompanying statement that breaks down the costs.
Why is my garage rent increasing?
Our garage rents will increase by 1.5% in April 2021 in line with other rents.
Your garage rent will only increase by around 20p per week.
Rent charges for 2020/21 and 2019/20
In 2020/21, the housing regulator allowed a rent increase of up to 2.7%, following a decrease of 1% in 2019/20. The way we applied these changes meant that the weekly rent paid (which excludes the two non-payment weeks) by our customers was decreased by 0.07% greater than it should have been in 2019/20 and then increased by 0.08% above the rent increase that should have been applied in 2020/21. As the higher decrease was applied first this means you are not worse off and the rent for 2020/21 on which next year’s increase of 1.5% is based is correct.
The amounts involved in each year were very small and we have discussed the differences with our customer partnership board and the Silva board who have agreed with the approach we have taken.
You will need to update your Universal Credit journal with your rent changes
From 5 April 2021, you need to update your UC journal with your rent details to ensure your correct housing costs are paid going forward.
To help remind you of this the Department for Work and Pensions will send you a reminder to update your housing costs in your ‘to-do list’ on 5 April. From there you need to input the date of the change, the new rent and the new eligible service charges. All this information is in the rent increase letter you have received from us.
Once you have entered your answers you will see a summary of them. If you have made any mistakes you will be able to change your answers on the summary page before you submit them.
Please contact our rents team if you need any further help. Remember you cannot input the changes before 5 April.
How to pay your rent and service charges
Pay using Direct Debit
This is the easiest way to pay your rent because you only need to set up a direct debit once and then it is paid automatically when payment is due.To set up a direct debit payment, log into My Silva and click on 'my accounts' or fill in our form and send it to us in the post.
Log into My Silva
Complete our Direct Debit form
Pay using the payment form below.
Pay by 24/7 automated telephone on 0844 557 8321.
You will need your 19-digit payment card number to do this.
Find out more about rent
What is my rent money used for?
As a not-for-profit business, all our income goes back into our homes and services, helping us to improve our homes and build new ones. As rent makes up the majority of our income, it's a really important way for us to fund improvements to your home.
How is my rent calculated?
Your rent is calculated using rules set by the housing regulator. There are social and affordable rents and affordable rents are usually set at 80% of the rent that would be charged in the private sector.
How can I see my rent statements?
You can access all your previous rent statement on My Silva. Simply log in and click on 'My Accounts'.
If you don't use My Silva, you will receive a rent statement in the post or by email. To find out how to read these documents, click the button below.
What if I can't pay my rent?
Paying your rent should be given top priority when budgeting, to prevent any arrears from building up on your account. If at any time you experience financial difficulties, please contact us for advice and support.
What happens if I don't pay my rent on time?
If your account falls into more than four weeks’ arrears without an arrangement, Silva Homes will start legal proceedings. This could result in a County Court Order for possession of the property and you may lose your home.
Remember that once this is granted, Silva Homes could apply for your eviction if you do not stick to the terms of the Court Order.
Are there any rent-free weeks this year?
Yes. There are two rent-free weeks in 2021, starting on 5 April and 20 December. This means you will only be charged for 50 weeks' rent, as there are 52 weeks in 2021/22.
You don't need to pay rent during your rent-free weeks if your rent account is fully paid to-date. However, if you are behind on your payments, or if you have an arrears arrangement in place, then you should still pay your rent as usual.
If you pay via direct debit, then your rent balance will automatically be adjusted during the rent-free weeks.
What other costs do I need to pay?
Depending on the type and location of your home, you might need to pay service charges. This could include your heating, lighting, cooking and hot water, which are all paid for in addition to your rent.
If your building has a communal gas and electrical supply, this is shared by everyone who lives in the building and the cost will be added to your rent. If this is the case, then you won't receive an additional gas or electricity bill.
You are informed of any charges that you are liable for when you sign your tenancy agreement.
Will my rent be reduced because of coronavirus?
We are closely following the government’s advice so we will not be reducing our rent. However, we are continually reassessing our approach towards coronavirus as the government’s advice changes.
Housing Benefit and coronavirus
Housing Benefit has updated its services, to help those affected by coronavirus. Their phone lines are now open for longer - from 9am until 5pm (previously 10am until 2pm).
You can complete these forms on the housing benefit website:
- Housing Benefit
- Council tax deductions
- Change of Circumstance
- Change of Address
For all other requests, please call Housing Benefit and they will help you over the phone.
We can help you to fill in a Discretionary Housing Payment application form over the phone. Housing Benefit will contact you to verify the information, so please ensure that you tell us your accurate email and telephone number.