Housing 21 changed our rent policy from April 2021.
Last year the Regulator of Social Housing identified that we had not correctly calculated charges for residents on affordable rents and that some residents on social rents had been charged more than the regulations permitted.
We always want to do the right thing and are very sorry for any mistakes we have made and any distress this may have caused. We are absolutely committed to correcting the situation and will be refunding any resident, both current and former, who has been overcharged.
From April 2021, all of our social housing properties moved to social rents, which are set using the formula rent calculation. We now calculate rents using a regulated formula, providing more assurance over affordability as it takes property size, property value and local income levels into account. It also means that our residents will benefit from a variable service charge based on the services they have requested and agreed as part of local consultations, giving them the opportunity to influence and determine the services they receive. Some residents will be paying less rent than they paid in the last financial year.
We wrote to all current residents during February to let them know what their rent and service charge would be from April 2021. We have now also written to current residents who are due a refund, letting them know what went wrong on their account and how we are calculating the refund together with what happens next. Where rents were paid by Housing Benefit, the refund will need to go to the Housing Benefits Office. The letter is just for information at this stage and residents don't need to take any action.
As calculating the refunds is quite a complex process which requires us to confirm any housing benefit or universal credit overcharge with the relevant Authority, we are not currently in a position to confirm the refunds due. Once refund calculations are complete, we will write again to all current and former residents due a refund, letting them know the detailed calculations and what refund they are due.
We would like to thank all of our residents for their patience during this time and apologise once again for any mistakes we have made. If any residents have questions on the above please speak to your Scheme Manager.