Only one week left for council housing tenants to have their say on rent changes

Kirklees council housing tenants only have one more week to have their say on changes to the frequency of their rent charges.

In the future tenants will be charged rent weekly instead of monthly. The move will help tenants budget more efficiently and bring the rent payment system into line with other Council operations.

Letters have been sent out to tenants informing them of the changes, offering them the opportunity to express their views.

Now, a list of frequently asked questions has been produced (see below) to help tenants understand the proposed changes.

If accepted, the new charging system will come into effect in the Tenancy Agreement from 4 April 2022.

Tenants have until 5 pm on Thursday, 3 March 2022 to express their views.

Responses can be fed back in 3 ways;

  • Call the Support & Information Team on 01484 414886
  • Write to us at Kirklees Council, Homes & Neighbourhoods, Red Doles Lane, Huddersfield, HD2 1YF

Frequently asked questions…

How is my monthly rent calculated?

Your monthly rent amount has been calculated as Weekly rent x 52 (number of Mondays in the year) divided by 12 (for monthly payment).

Paying by Direct Debit

I pay by Direct Debit. Do I need to contact my bank to amend it?

No. We will automatically update your Direct Debit to reflect the increase in your rent.  We will write to you to confirm the new amount of your Direct Debit before payment is taken.

I pay by Direct Debit. When will the increase in my payment take effect?

Your Direct Debit will be increased from the first scheduled payment due to be taken from your bank account on or after 4 April 2022. 

Example 1: Jean has set up a Direct Debit to pay her rent every week on a Wednesday.  The first payment based on the increased rent charge will be taken from her bank account on Wednesday, 6th April.

Example 2:  Ranjit pays his rent on the 1st of every month by Direct Debit.  As the rent increase does not take effect until Monday 4th April his scheduled payment on 1st April will not be changed.  The first payment to be taken at the increased rent will be on 1st May 2022.

What happens if my Direct Debit payment is due on a Bank Holiday or at a weekend?

Collection of any Direct Debit payments that are due to be taken on a bank holiday or at the weekend will be delayed until the next working day. 

Example 1:  Geoff pays his rent every Friday by Direct Debit.  The payment due on Friday,15th April  falls on the Good Friday bank holiday prior to Easter.  His Direct Debit will be collected on Tuesday19th April 2022.  This is the next working day as Monday 18th April is also a bank holiday.

Example 2: Ishrat pays her rent by Direct Debit on the 17th of every month.  Her payment due on 17th April 2022 falls on a Sunday so it will be collected on Tuesday, 19th April.  This is the next working day as Monday 18th April is a bank holiday.

Why should I pay by Direct Debit?

It is a requirement of your tenancy agreement that you pay your rent by Direct Debit. Paying by Direct Debit means that:

  • You don’t have to worry about missing a payment
  • We will automatically update your payments each year to reflect changes in rent charges – you don’t have to do a thing
  • You are in control.  All payments are covered by the Direct Debit guarantee.  This means we will never change your payment amount without giving you 10 working days’ notice before the new payment is taken.  It also means that you will be able to get an immediate refund from your bank or building society. This is in the unlikely event that an error is made in your payment.  You are also free to cancel it at any time by contacting your bank or building society
  • Direct Debit payments cost the Council less to process than card or cash payments. This means that there is more money to fund improvements in the services you receive.

I want to set up a Direct Debit to pay my rent.  What do I need to do?

You can set up a Direct Debit by calling us on 01484 414886.  Our lines are open between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm, Monday to Thursday and 9.00 – 4.30pm on Friday.

I can’t set up a Direct Debit on my bank account / I am unable to open a bank account to set up a Direct Debit. How can I make a payment?

Your tenancy agreement states that you should pay your housing charges by Direct Debit.  If you are unable to set up a Direct Debit, then payments can be made via the following methods:

  • Online at www.kirklees.gov.uk
  • By debit card by calling our secure payment line 01484 414818
  • Via Paypoint or at a Post Office branch using the barcode or payment reference included at the top of rent letters.  This information is also available on your mykirklees account under ‘Make a Payment’ –  https://my.kirklees.gov.uk/.

Universal credit

Do I need to inform DWP that my rent has increased?

Yes. As part of your claimant commitment, you are responsible for informing DWP of any changes that affect your universal credit claim.  If you are receiving support with your housing costs, you will need to let DWP know that these have increased so that they can pay you the right amount.

DWP will not allow us to update rent charges on your behalf – you must do this yourself.

When do I need to inform DWP of my new rent charge?

DWP will add a new a new ‘Confirm your Housing Costs’ to-do to your online UC account.  Please complete this on or after 4th April and before the end of your assessment period to ensure that you receive the right amount.

DWP will take the increased rent into account for the whole of the assessment period in which it is notified of the change.

Example 1: Mohammed works part-time and receives Universal Credit to top up his wages and help with his housing costs.  His assessment period will run from 7 March to 6 April 2022.  If Mohammed notifies DWP of his new rent on 4th April, his housing support costs will be increased for the whole of the assessment period.  If he forgets and doesn’t inform DWP until 7 April, then the change will not be reflected in his payments until the assessment period 7 April to 6 May.

Example 2: Olga is out of work and lives on her own with her two children.  Her universal credit assessment period runs from 19 March to 18 April 2021.  If she notifies DWP of the change in her rent by 18 April, she will receive the increased rent amount for the whole of the assessment period in her payment due on 25 April.  However, if she notifies DWP on 19 April then her housing costs will only reflect the increase from the assessment period running from 19 April to 18 May.  This means that her housing support will not cover the increase in rent from 4-18 April and she will be responsible for making up the difference.

How do I inform DWP of my change in housing costs?

DWP will add a ‘Confirm your Housing Costs’ to-do to your online UC journal for you to complete.  This should be done as soon as possible. On or after 4 April 2022 and before the end of your assessment period. This is to ensure the increase in your housing costs is reflected in your UC payment.

Preview of GOV.UK site questions to select.

If you require assistance to update your claim, please contact DWP:

Universal Credit helpline

Telephone: 0800 328 5644 – Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Textphone: 0800 328 1344 – Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 328 5644

Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users – check you can use this service

My housing costs are paid directly to you as I have a managed payment to landlord in place.  Do I still need to inform DWP of my change in rent?

Yes. Your claimant commitment forms a signed contract between you and DWP.  It is your responsibility to inform DWP of any changes that may affect how much support you receive. DWP will not accept notification of a change in your rent charge from your landlord.

This should not result in any interruption to your managed payments to the landlord.

Will any direct deductions taken from my UC payment to pay rent arrears be affected?

No. Any arrears deductions will continue as normal.

Do I need to pay rent from my Universal Credit payment?

If you are entitled to help with your housing costs then these would be included within your Universal Credit payment.  You are responsible for paying this amount to us to cover your rent and service charges (where applicable).

If the amount of support you receive from Universal Credit is less than your full housing charges, you will be responsible for paying the difference.

Your tenancy agreement states that you need to pay your rent by Direct Debit. To set up a Direct Debit please call 01484 414886.  We can set up your payment to coincide with your UC payment date.  This means that you don’t have to worry about budgeting for your rent payment – it’s all taken care of automatically.

Remember that your universal credit payment includes specific support to help with your housing costs.  Please ensure that this is paid promptly.  If you do not pay your rent, you could lose your home.

I receive Housing Benefit – do I need to notify anyone of my new rent?

No. If you receive Housing benefits then your entitlement will automatically be reassessed. We will contact you if we need any more information.  Please make sure that you complete any forms we send to you as soon as possible.

No action will be required unless:

  • your circumstances have changed, or
  • you are contacted for further information

You can find more information on Housing Benefit at http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/benefits.

Help to manage your money

I’m struggling to pay my bills, where can I get help?

Call our Money Advice Team on 01484 414 975 or e-mail MAU@kirklees.gov.uk.

Whether you just want some basic advice or need more support to manage your debts, our Money Advice Team can help.

Here are some of the areas they can help with:

  • Maximising income
  • Support to ensure you are receiving your correct benefit entitlements
  • Planning a budget and preventing debt
  • Prioritising payments and negotiating reduced payments with creditors
  • Accessing grants from charitable funds
  • Identifying possible debt solutions, including bankruptcy and debt relief orders
  • Signposting to local welfare provision and food banks

The Money Advice Team is independent and fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), so you can be confident that the advice you receive is unbiased and not just about rent.

If you require support to access training or to find a job, please contact our Employment Support Team – EST@kirklees.gov.uk.