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Rent and service charge FAQs

Who do I pay my rent to?

Folkestone & Hythe District Council (FHDC) became directly responsible for delivering your Housing Service from the 1st October 2020 and East Kent Housing ended completely on the 30th September 2020. However, nothing has changed in the way you pay your rent.

If you already pay your rent and other charges through one of the methods listed on the Paying Rent web page nothing has changed. You can continue to use the same payment method, payment cards and rent account reference number and the Council will receive your rent.

Will the Council increase my rent?

The Council reviews your rent each year and will let you know at least four weeks before any changes take place.

How is my rent increase worked out?

Your rent is reviewed and worked out using a formula set by the Government, who have also put in place a 'rent capping' system to prevent your rent from getting too high.

This financial year rent increases were based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for September 2019 with a further 1% then added to this. The CPI for September 2019 was 1.7%. Therefore, when the further 1% was added to this the rent increase for the financial year 2020/2021 (1st April - 21st March the following year) it came to an increase of 2.7%.

How is my service charge set?

Service charge costs are worked out by looking at any charges for the services we provide to you, and any changes in prices, VAT and other external factors.

The core services we provide through service charges are repairs, cleaning and grounds maintenance for communal areas.

What is an eligible / non-eligible service charge?

An eligible service charge is a charge that can be claimed from Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, while a non-eligible service charge cannot. An example of a non-eligible service charge is the cost of heating and hot water for your home if it is supplied from a communal boiler, which would need to paid by you (not through Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit).

Where can I see a breakdown of my service charge?

If there are any service charges relating to your property these will be included in your rent letter.

I don't think my service charge is correct. How do I query this?

You can call us on contact us and a member of our team will look into your query. The best way to get in touch is to email us at housing.service@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk. If you do not have access to email, a computer, tablet or Smartphone you can call us on 01303 853000.

My rent is paid by Housing Benefit. Do I need to do anything when my rent changes?

If you receive Housing Benefit and it is paid directly to us, the Housing Benefit Department will have been informed of any rent changes and you will not need to do anything regarding your benefit claim.

If Housing Benefit is paid directly to you, you must contact the Housing Benefit Team with the details of your new rent amount.

If your Housing Benefit does not cover your full rent and service charges, you need to ensure that the full charge is paid to us by making up the difference (top-up) using your other income.

My rent is paid by the housing element of Universal Credit. Do I need to do anything?

If you are claiming the housing element of Universal Credit you must inform the Department for Work and Pensions with the details of your new rent amount through your online journal. If your housing element of Universal Credit does not cover your full rent and service charges, you need to ensure that the full charge is paid to us by making up the difference (top-up) using your other income.

What happens if my benefits don't cover the new rent and service charge?

If your Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit does not cover the full rent and service charge it is your responsibility to ensure the remaining costs are paid to us using other income that you receive.

I pay my rent by Direct Debit. Do I need to do anything?

No, your rent amount will be automatically adjusted, and you should receive notice of the new instruction starting in March. Please check your bank statement in April to make sure that the correct amount has been paid.

I pay my rent by standing order. Do I need to do anything?

Yes, you are responsible for telling your bank about the new amount to be paid and it is important that you do so. You may wish to consider moving to a Direct Debit so that the change happens automatically in future. Visit our Paying Rent page for information on how to set up a Direct Debit.

What happens if I don't pay my rent and service charges?

Paying your rent and service charges must be first on your list of outgoings.

You must contact us if there are any changes to your circumstances which may affect your ability to pay your rent. Failure to pay your rent and service charges could result in legal action against you, which may eventually lead to you losing your home.

It is really important that you contact us as soon as possible; that you are up front about why you are unable to pay your rent to ensure you are provided with the correct advice, and to avoid any further action.

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