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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 2021/2022

From April 2020 the Council applied the Government’s new Rent Standard allowing the rents that Colchester Borough Council tenants pay increase by the rate of inflation, known as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1%. This followed four years of rent reductions where the rents paid by tenants were reduced by 1% each year.

The Council has agreed to continue to implement the increase for the 2021/22 rent year in line with the Government’s policy meaning rents will increase this year by 1.5% (CPI was 0.5%). The increase will come into effect from Monday 5 April and will mean the average rent for 2021/22 will be approximately £88.81.

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

Housing Benefit

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.

Universal Credit

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.