Rent & Service Charges
Rent and service charges
What you pay is broken down into two main areas: your rent and your service charges. Your rent pays for the management and maintenance of your home and your service charges pay for communal services around your home such as grounds maintenance or the upkeep of lighting in communal areas in flats.
Service charges are included in the rent that secure and introductory tenants pay, and in the charge that people with a licence pay.
Service Charges for Tenants
For a breakdown of what’s covered by Tenant’s Service Charges, please download this leaflet.
How much you need to pay
Everyone who rents a property will be informed what they have to pay before they agree to a tenancy or licence agreement. Rents are reviewed by Colchester Borough Council each year – you can see the rent setting and service charge policy. You will receive a letter at least four weeks in advance of any changes letting you know what your new rent and service charge will be.
Rent Increase 2023/2024
In October 2017, the Government announced its intention to set a long-term rent deal for local authority landlords and housing associations from 2020/21 onwards.
The long-term rent deal which was confirmed by the ‘Policy statement on rents for social housing’ (February 2019), allows local authority landlords to increase rents on an annual basis by the rate of inflation, known as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1% from 2020, for a period of at least 5 years.
Due to a much higher than expected rate of inflation and the considerable pressure this is having on many households the Government has made a temporary amendment to the CPI plus 1% policy for 2023/24. Instead of permitting rents to increase by 11.1% (CPI was 10.1%) the increase has been limited to 7% for 2023/24.
Your rent is made up of two elements the rent and service charges, the Government policy only applies to the rent element.
The Council has agreed to implement the increase for the 2023/24 rent year in line with the Government’s revised limit and rents will be increased by 7% from Monday 3 April 2023.
As a result, the average rent for council tenancies will be around £100.49 per week up from the average of around £93.92 in 2022/23.
To help give residents a clearer understanding of the decision, how the additional rent will be used and the support available for tenants we have developed some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Service Charges for Leaseholders
Details about service charges for leaseholders are sent every year to each leaseholder. For more information see our Service Charges and Ground Rent for Leaseholders page.
Paying your rent and service charges
See our ways to pay to make a payment or find out how you can pay your rent and service charges. To make an online payment or set up a direct debit visit the Council’s Do it Online – Access your account page. Please contact 01206 282514 for confidential advice and support if you are having difficulty paying what you owe.
Normally our payments are divided into a 50-week year, which means that there are 2 weeks in a year where you do not need to make a payment if your rent is up to date. These are normally just before Christmas and at the end of March.
Help with your rent
If you are on a low income you may be entitled to Housing Benefit to help with your rent. You can apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support online here. For information on other benefits see our benefits page.
If you are not entitled to Housing Benefit, you may still be able to get help towards your rent from Universal Credit.
Depending on your income, your family circumstances and your rent and service charge levels, Universal Credit may include an award of a ‘Housing Element’ that goes towards your rent and eligible service charges. Find out more here.
Discretionary Housing Payments
If you are entitled to Housing Benefit and are having difficulty in paying your rent you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. This is a temporary payment to help cover your rent, for example while you are looking to move to a more affordable home. To find out more and apply online.
Paying your rent
If your full rent is not covered by benefits, you will need to make arrangements to pay the difference. Visit our how to pay page to find out more.