Paying for your home or care
It is important that you pay your rent, service charge or care home fees on time.
There are a number of ways you can make these payments, please see below. We can also offer advice about benefits and managing your payments.
How to pay your rent and other charges
Direct Debit – this is our preferred method and the most secure.
Why set up a Direct Debit with us?
- Direct Debit is one of the safest and most secure payment methods available.
- All transactions are covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee which means you can request an immediate refund should any Direct Debit payment be taken in error, simply by calling your bank and asking for it.
- It is a free service.
- You only need to set up a Direct Debit once and after that you do not need to worry.
- It can also help you budget more effectively as you will know how much you are paying and when.
How do you set up a Direct Debit?
- Contact your scheme or home manager to arrange a convenient time to complete the Direct Debit mandate. Your scheme/home manager will have all the necessary forms.
What do you need to set up a Direct Debit?
- Proof of identity – passport or driving licence
- Proof of address – bank statement or driving licence
- Proof bank details given are your own – bank statement or bank card
Please take the above documents to your meeting with your scheme/home manager as they will need to take copies. This is necessary to avoid any unauthorised transactions and is the same process used in banks and building societies. Documentation is kept secure and confidential.
World pay is our online payment method for debit/credit cards.
To pay by this method you can either see your scheme or home manager or call the Finance Team on 01323 875240 selecting Option1, then Option 3. Please have your card details to hand when you call.
To pay by standing order you have to set it up yourself with your bank and make any changes required at a later date.
We have a standard form that your scheme or home manager can give you to make the application easier. If you have any queries about your account you can contact the Finance Team in the first instance on 01323 875240 selecting Option1, then Option 3.
Understanding your rent statement
When do we send statements?
We send rent statements to all our residents twice a year. In October for the period up to September 30th and in April for the period up to March 31st. This keeps you informed on the position of your account and allows you to check that we have recorded all payments made and charges due.
What do the various terms on my rent statement mean?
Resident – this is your personal record ID. It is helpful if you can quote this when you contact us, it helps us look up your account more quickly.
Property – this is the system ID for your room or flat/bungalow. This can change if you move to one of our other properties.
- Month charge or week charge - this is the total home fee, rent and/or service charge that you are paying. It will be monthly or weekly depending on your tenancy/license agreement or lease.
- Elec banking - this is a payment made via one of the payment methods listed above
- Cheque - this indicates a payment by cheque.
- HB/UC - this is a payment received from Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. The dates covered by the payment will be shown.
- TPTU - this is a third party top up. This applies in care homes where part of the fees are paid by a member of the resident’s family or other source. A date or description may be added.
- SS Con - this is a payment from Social Services. This applies in care homes where the resident receives some funding from Adult Social Services. The dates covered by the payment will be shown.
- Adjustments - sometimes we have to correct entries.
- Balance - this shows the running balance on the account after each transaction. If there is a minus sign (-) in front of the number the account is in arrears at that point.
- Analysis of balance - our finance system recognises how your charges are funded. It is able to allocate the balance of your account between the sources of funding.
- Tenant - your contribution
- SS contract - Social Services
- HB - Housing Benefit/Universal Credit
- Third Party - this is usually a friend or family member
- Arr - this source is in arrears at the last date on the statement
- Pre - this source has paid in advance at the last date on the statement
When to pay your rent and other charges
- Care home fees, rents and service charges are payable monthly in advance.
- Care home respite charges are payable in advance on admission.
- Other charges are payable on invoice.
Information about your service charge - for tenants and leaseholders
What is a service charge?
Service charges are the way we as your landlord/freeholder are reimbursed for the costs we incur in providing services to you. These services will be charged in addition to any rent but may be collected as a single payment.
What is included in service charges?
The costs that are covered by service charges differ between tenants paying rent and leaseholders. Leaseholders are generally charged all the costs of running their scheme explicitly in the service charges. Service charges to tenants who rent their home do not contain all the costs as some are deemed to be covered by the rent they pay.
The following is a list of the costs that would be included in service charges, however it is not exhaustive:
1. Scheme Manager
- Salary costs (this is partly included in the rent for tenants).
- Cost of manager’s office – phone, stationery, computer.
- Lifeline alarm system costs.
2. Communal services (this is only where communal facilities exist, for example, communal boiler, single electricity meter).
- Grounds maintenance.
- Window cleaning.
- Communal space cleaning.
- Pest control.
- TV/film/music licences.
- Insurance – buildings (this is not in the tenants service charge as the cost is included in the rent) and general insurance.
- Replacements and additions (e.g. furniture in communal lounges).
- Depreciation charge for communal fixtures and fittings (this is not applicable to leaseholders).
3. Repairs and maintenance
- Repairs to internal and external building fabric (this is not in the tenants service charge as the cost is included in the rent)
- Repairs, service and maintenance, including;
Boilers (this is not in the tenants service charge as the cost is included in the rent)
Fire alarms and emergency lighting
Fire risk assessment
- Tree works
4. Professional services
- SHC management fees
- Auditors fee for leasehold accounts (this is not applicable to tenants)
- Leasehold scheme sinking fund – to fund major future repairs and renewals (this is not applicable to tenants)
When are service charges set?
Service charges are set annually. The budget for the next financial year, starting 1st April, is agreed in January, service charge calculations are part of this process.
The charges set are formally notified to tenants and leaseholders in February in order to give the required period of notice before they become effective.
For Tenants the date on which they start to pay the new charges will depend on the rent review date in their tenancy agreement. Leasehold charges change on April 1st.
Service charges for tenants are fixed, that means that we do not make allowance in the following year for any under/overspend against the previous year’s budget charge. Service charges for leaseholders are adjusted for any under/overspend against the budget charge in the next available year as required by their lease.
Will I be involved in setting my service charge?
Our tenants are not normally invited to participate in the routine service charge setting process. If there is some major change anticipated at a scheme the residents would be consulted on how this might affect them.
Leaseholders have a right to be involved in the process and we hold a budget meeting at each scheme in December to discuss the new year’s charges.
Problems making a payment?
Paying your rent, service charge or care home fees should be be your number one priority.
Not paying these charges is a serious matter and could result in you loosing your home.
We're here to help if you're having problems paying your rent, service charge or care home fee, please talk to us as soon as possible. There may be arrangements we can make to support you.
What should I do if I have problems making a payment?
First you should tell us if you are having problems paying us. Please don't ignore the problem.
We have a dedicated officer who will meet with you to talk through your circumstances and they will check whether you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to. If there are extra benefits available to you, we can support you in getting these.
What happens if I do get into arrears?
We will get in touch with you if you miss a rent, service charge or care home fees payment to remind you about the amount you owe. It's likely that we will also write to you to tell you about this.
Please contact us to tell us how you are going to arrange to pay the arrears. We have arrears policies, see below, that show in more detail what will happen if you do not meet your payments.
Useful information about paying for your home or care
Here are some useful websites which give information and advice about paying for your rent, service charge or care home fee.
- Benefits calculator - use online benefits calculators to see what you are entitled to.
- About benfits - visit the East Sussex County Council website to read about the current benefits for residents.
- General money advice - Shelter provide free advice.
- Citizens Advice - They provide free advice, for example on housing, benefits and universal credit. Citizens Advice West Sussex and Citizens Advice East Sussex.
- Advice for older people - Age UK provide advice and support for older people.
- Hastings support - Hastings Advice and Representation Centre (HARC) give local free advice in Hastings and St Leonards.