This page will give you some more information around why we’ve increased the rent, as well as answer any questions you may have about the increase.
Take a look at our handy animation explaining the rent increase:
Each year we notify you of any changes to your weekly rent taking effect from the start of April (for most households).
This year we have notified our residents that from April 2022 rent will increase by 4.1%.
When setting rents, we comply with the Government’s Rent Standard. This limits annual rent increases to Consumer Price Index inflation (CPI) in September of the preceding year +1%. The level of CPI in September 2021 was 3.1%.
If you have lived in one of our homes for some time, you will know that rents reduced by 1% in each year from April 2016 to April 2019 and the rent increases in April 2020 and April 2021 were 2.7% and 1.5% respectively. Many other costs have continued to increase over this period, and although your rent increase in April 2022 is more than in recent years, the rent you pay in April 2022 will be close to the rent paid for the same home in April 2016.
Rental income is used to pay for the management and maintenance of our homes and estates. These costs have increased by more than inflation over recent years and continue to do so. The rent increase helps cover these rising costs.
Your estimated service charge for next year may also have increased. Unless this is due to an increased level of services, or the introduction of new services, we have capped the increase at £5 per week. Guinness will pay for additional costs above this level this year. This is to ensure that your service charge is as affordable as possible.
If you receive Universal Credit, you need to notify the Department of Work and Pensions on or after 4 April 2022, via your Journal, of the new rent charge.
If you think that you may find it difficult to pay your rent or service charge or think that you may not be receiving benefits that you are entitled to, we may be able to help. Our Customer Support team work with customers to help them improve their finances and access benefits, discretionary housing payments and local services
If you have any questions, our FAQs below may be able to help. If you’d prefer to get in touch directly, you can use the ‘Rents and Service Charge enquiry’ on our general queries form, contact us over the phone, via live chat or through your MyGuinness online account – find out more on our contact us page.
Who decides how my rent is increased?
When setting rents we follow the Rent Standard which is issued by the Government, this limits the amount by which we can increase rents each year to the Consumer Price Index measure of inflation (CPI) +1%. The level of CPI in September 2021 was 3.1%, and this is the CPI measure that we are required to use when setting rents for the following April.
Why do I have to pay my rent in advance?
Like most landlords we ask for rent to be paid in advance. This is a condition in your Tenancy Agreement.
We know that some customers find is difficult to pay in advance, please contact us via Live Chat to discuss this further. You can find the Live Chat button to the right of the screen.
Will my new rent be covered by Universal Credit?
It is your responsibility to notify the Department of Work and Pensions, via your Journal, of any changes to your claim. This includes any new rent charge.
You will need to notify the Department of Work and Pensions on or after 4 April 2022.
How can I check my account balance?
What do you spend my rent payments on?
Rental income is used to pay for the management and maintenance of our homes and estates.
This diagram shows how every £1 of rent and service charge income is spent.
I am struggling to pay. What help is available?
If you are struggling with your finances, you can contact our Customer Accounts Team for support. We can help you manage your finances through offering guidance on budgeting.
You can also get support from third party agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Your can contact us via Live Chat using the button to the right of the screen.
Service Charge FAQs
What is a service charge?
Service charges are payments made for services that are provided by Guinness and/or a managing agent in respect of the common parts of buildings and external communal areas of a scheme. If you live in a flat, you are required to pay for a share of services to internal communal areas in the building (block) that your flat is in as well as external communal areas. If you live in a house, which is on a scheme, you are required to pay for a share of the upkeep of the communal areas of the scheme.
Service charges may be fixed or variable. The type of service charge is determined by the provisions of the Tenancy Agreement.
A variable service charge is one where the provisions of the Tenancy Agreement allow Guinness to vary the service charge each year (and perhaps during the year) according to actual costs incurred or estimated. Your Tenancy Agreement will give more information on your service charge.
How do we work out service charges?
At the beginning of your service charge year (which is detailed in your Tenancy Agreement, but normally runs from 1 April to 31 March) we will send you a service charge estimate.
Your estimates are worked out using information from our contractors, our in-house teams and by analysing past and predicted costs.
You then pay the amount stated in the estimate for the following 12 months.
Your estimate may increase in some years and decrease in others depending on the actual amount spent in the previous year.
What is my end of year statement?
At the end of the financial year, we review all expenditure relating to the services provided to your development during the past 12 months. We then provide you with an end-of-year statement detailing the actual costs we incurred on your behalf.
During the year you will have been paying us a sum to cover your service charges; this amount is based on your annual estimate. This is to avoid you being asked for large lump sums in one go. In your end-of- year statement we outline the estimated service charge as well as the actual expenditure during the year. This helps you to see whether you have a credit in your account or if you need to pay additional monies to cover the expenditure.
You only pay for the services that have been provided. Guinness does not make a profit from service charges. We only pass on costs that we have incurred. We do, however, make a small charge for management and administration which is described on your service charge statement as the Management Fee.
What is a surplus?
If your end-of-year statement shows your account is in surplus, this means that the amount you have paid towards your service charges for the year is more than the actual amount we spent, and money is due back to you, this is deducted from your charge for the following year.
What is a deficit?
If your end-of-year statement shows your account is in deficit, this means that the amount that you have paid towards your service charges for the year is less than the actual amount we spent. You are liable for the additional costs under the terms of your Tenancy Agreement, and these are added to your charge for the following year.
Types of service charge costs
Depending on your home and the services you receive, and any specific terms in your Tenancy Agreement, you may be required to pay for one or more service charge elements. A list of what you may pay for and a brief description is shown below:
Service Charge Element
Description of cost
|Accountancy Fee||The cost of providing the Accountant’s Report to accompany your service charge statement if it is required by your lease|
|Aids & Adaptations (in communal areas)||The cost of the provision, repair and maintenance of adaptations in communal areas|
|Alarm, Aerial, Door Entry and General Servicing||The cost of providing, servicing, maintaining and testing systems and equipment in communal areas which may include, but is not limited to: TV aerials, External alarms and CCTV, Door entry systems, Fire alarms and emergency lighting, Entry gates and barriers, Laundry equipment and Air conditioning and ventilation|
|Building Insurance||The cost of building insurance on properties we own. This does not include contents insurance, which is your responsibility to arrange with a provider of your choice.|
|Cleaning||The cost of cleaning communal areas to the block such as corridors, stairwells, windows, flooring, communal lounges and kitchens.|
|Communal Gas, Electricity and Water Charges||The cost of electricity for all communal lighting internal to the block or street lighting for the scheme (when not owned and maintained by the local authority.)
The cost of fuel to heat and provide hot water to communal rooms including shared bathrooms, lounges and kitchens.
The cost of communal water supply to gardens, kitchens, bathrooms, bin stores and sewage pumps.
|Communal Lift Maintenance||The cost of maintenance, cleaning, repair, insurance or replacement of lifts in communal areas.|
|Communal Repairs||The cost of repairing and maintaining communal areas of the block or scheme. Most repairs are covered by the rent, but some communal repairs are charged through service charges.|
(including pest control)
|The cost of sewerage charges, gritting services and costs incurred in clearing vermin, including pesticides and pest control contracts.|
|Estate Services Costs||The cost of maintaining the landscape and communal areas around blocks or communal gardens where this is delivered by Guinness staff.|
|Fixtures, Fittings and White Goods||The cost of maintenance, servicing (including periodic cleaning), renewal of furniture, furnishings and white goods in communal areas of the building.|
|Fly Tipping Removal and Bin Hire||The cost of maintenance, decontamination and repair of refuse collection and refuse containers. The cost of removing rubbish including items that have been fly-tipped on the scheme.|
|Gardening and Tree Work||The cost of maintaining the landscape and communal areas around blocks or communal gardens where this is delivered by third party contractors.|
|Ground Rent||An annual charge, known as ground rent, may be charged to a leaseholder by the freeholder. This is stated in the lease.|
|Heating Repairs &
|The cost of maintaining and repairing any communal heating system.|
|Management Fee||The internal Guinness cost of managing all services listed including the procurement of contracts. The fee includes administration costs and the cost of certain staff salaries.|
|Managing Agent Fee||The cost of services where a Management Company provides some or all of the services to the block or scheme.|
|Offices Contribution||Where we have an office based on your scheme that also benefits from the services listed, a credit for this will appear on your service charge statement.|
|On Site Services and Scheme Staff||The cost of salaries and on-costs for Guinness staff providing specific services to the scheme. This includes the cost of Retirement Living advisors in Sheltered Housing schemes.|
|Private Gas, Electricity and Water Charges||The cost of providing heating and/or hot water to individual dwellings where Guinness provides this.|
|Private Wellbeing Charge||The cost of night services for our Extra Care customers.|
|Risk Assessment and Monitoring||The cost of statutory servicing and periodic risk assessments which may include fire risk assessments, legionella risk assessments and, for leaseholders, gas safety checks.|
|Warden Call System or Community Alarm System||The cost of monitoring, maintaining and servicing emergency alarms/pull cord systems.|
|Wellbeing Charge||The cost of certain specific services for our Extra Care customers.|
|Window Cleaning||The cost of cleaning the windows of communal areas which includes materials, equipment and staff costs.|
We take your Privacy seriously. Any information that we collect and use in order to manage your rent account will be necessary for the performance of your contract with us. For more information as to how we use your information including how you can make any request under Data Protection please see our Privacy Notice.
Glossary of terms
A number of specific terms are used in service charge documentation which are not commonly used day to day elsewhere. The meaning of those terms is provided below.
|Common Parts / Communal Areas||Areas of the scheme, which are not demised to individual units and are therefore maintained by Guinness and/or a Managing Agent.|
|Contracts||Contract costs for particular services.|
|Fixed Service Charge||A Fixed Service Charge is one where the provisions of the tenancy agreement limit the amount that Guinness can increase the charge by.|
|Freeholder||A company / person who owns the building outright.|
|Ground Rent||Rent payable under the terms of the lease.|
|Individual Services||Property services which are billed individually such as buildings insurance and management fee.|
|Landlord||The owner of a property, which is then rented or leased out to a tenant or lessee.|
|Lease||A contract between landlord and lessee.|
|Leaseholder||Leaseholders occupy property under a lease issued by the landlord. Leaseholders are granted a long-term interest in the property.|
|Managing Agent||A company appointed by the Freeholder of a property to manage that property, block or scheme.|
|Section 20B Notice||A notice which can be sent instead of a demand for payment if end of year accounts are not prepared within 18 months of the costs being incurred.|
|Service Charge Actual||Details of the actual costs incurred in providing services to a particular property, block or scheme for the year.|
|Service Charge Deficit||The amount you have paid towards your service charges for the year is less than the actual amount spent. You are liable for the additional costs under the terms of your lease.|
|Service Charge Estimate||An estimate of what we expect to spend providing services to your scheme during the next year, this is based on known servicing costs, contract costs and prior year actual costs.|
|Service Charge Surplus||The amount you have paid towards your service charges for the year is more than the actual amount spent and money is due back to you.|
|Servicing Costs||Regular costs for servicing equipment.|
|Sinking Fund||Where your lease or Tenancy Agreement permits, a sinking fund sets money aside for works which may be required at a later date for large items of expenditure such as lift or door entry replacements.|
|Tenancy Agreement||A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and a landlord. It lets you live in a property as long as you pay rent and follow the rules set out within the agreement.|
|Variable Service Charge||A Variable Service Charge is one where the provisions of the Tenancy Agreement allow Guinness to change the service charge each year (and perhaps during the year) according to actual costs incurred or estimated.|