The Association’s Rent Policy is set by the Board of Management in line with the requirements set out in the Housing (NI) Order 1992. Rent is reviewed on a yearly basis and tenants are given a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice of any rent increases.
Under the terms of the ‘Tenants Guarantee’ the Association is obliged to inform and advise tenants of the principles and procedures for the fixing of rent and other charges. Newington HA has a policy document that offers such information and is available upon request from our office.
Rates are collected with your rent on behalf of the Rate Collection Agency. Rate increases are due immediately and the Association will strive to give all tenants as much notice as possible in relation to any increases.
The Association may impose a service charge in some cases in order to cover the cost of communal facilities such as communal heating, lighting and cleaning of communal areas. This charge will also be subject to an annual review to ensure that the service charge is in line with the total services provided.
Support Charges are applicable in Sheltered Accommodation to cover costs of supporting residents to continue to live independently. These costs are generally the costs of the Residents Supervisor and Helpline services and equipment.
Rent Payment Methods
Payment by Standing Order
- rent can be paid by Standing Order from your bank account. The necessary forms and details are available from the Association
- please note: Newington HA recommend that you notify your Housing Officer in advance of using this method of payment as confusion can arise over amounts due on a monthly basis (52 weeks in a financial year) and the need to identify the correct payee when the association receives cash from tenants on its bank statement
All Pay Payment Card
- rent can be paid at the Post Office or any PayPoint outlet
- you will pay by cash using your card and please retain your receipt as proof of payment
- if you lose your AllPay Card please contact our office immediately
- please note: The Association does not usually accept cash at our office
- housing benefit is processed and paid by the NIHE (Northern Ireland Housing Executive) and is ‘means tested’. Newington HA staff can offer advice and information on procedures in the completion of Housing Benefit application forms, which are available at our office.
- any claim for housing benefit will be determined by your state benefits or household income.
- tenants are held liable to make up any shortfall in relation to their rent or any other charges that are not covered by Housing Benefit.
If you fall behind in your rent or your rent account goes into arrears it is advisable that you seek help immediately and arrange a meeting with your Housing Officer to discuss the matter fully. Your Housing Officer will deal with your case in a sensitive and confidential manner and can also provide you with advice on how to manage debt, for example:
- assisting you in applying for Housing Benefit or Rate Relief
- changing your payment method e.g. setting up a standing order
- contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau or an independent advice agency on your behalf
- advise you on entering a rent arrears agreement to make affordable weekly payments to gradually clear the rent arrears
- referring you to the Housing Rights “Tenant Debt Advice Service” for free, confidential information, advice and support
You should not ignore any arrears letters you receive. If you are in arrears and do not make an arrangement to repay, you may not be able to transfer and you may not be able to exercise your right to buy. This may lead to Newington HA commencing legal action to recover the debt and may also lead to you losing your home.
Other recovery methods include:
- proceedings can be initiated to recover the debt through the Courts. If the arrears are not paid the Association can obtain a Court Order which may be enforced by the Enforcement of Judgements Office, requiring your employer to deduct rent payments from your earnings
- direct deductions can be made from your Social Security Benefits or your salary if you work for a Public Authority
- as a last resort, the Association will initiate legal proceedings for the possession of the dwelling. This may result in eviction