Your views on the. Annual Rent, Management Fee & Service Charge Increase

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1 Your views on the Annual Rent, Management Fee & Service Charge Increase

2 Introduction Govan Housing Association has always been committed to consultation with the community we serve and resident participation. We therefore welcomed the statutory provisions in the Housing (Scotland) Acts 2001 and 2010 which require all social landlords to take tenants and service users views into account when formulating key service delivery policies and the Annual Rent Increase. Generally, there are two strands to our consultation with tenants, residents and other service users. We will: 1. Inform tenants, residents and other service users when a policy is due to be reviewed and provide some information on the changes that are being proposed by the Association. 2. Invite feedback from tenants, residents and other service users on: a. How they feel the proposals address the needs of the community. b. Whether there are any particular amendments they would like to see. This consultation leaflet will seek your views on the: Annual Rent Increase 2014/15 Page 4 Factoring Management Fee 2014/15 Page 6 Service Charge Increase 2014/15 Page 7 The annual rent increase is important to the Association to ensure that we can cover our costs and continue to deliver the quality services for the management, maintenance and improvement of your homes. This leaflet outlines our approach to setting rents and the proposed increase in rent, factoring management fee and service charges for It provides details on how your views on the proposed rent, management fee and service charge increases will be taken into account, as well as when our Management Committee will make a decision on these matters. 2 Govan Housing Assocation

3 Our Approach to Setting Rents Background to Rent Setting Govan Housing Association has grown as an organisation, where we have added to our traditional tenement stock with new build developments and the acquisition of properties in Govan C from Scottish Homes. The Association sets the majority of our rents which are calculated by taking the following factors into account: property size; amenities; type; age; base level to reflect common features in our properties. Rent Registration Service The Association allocates costs to each factor, which informs the annual rent for your property. Rent increases are then applied each year, based on the rate of inflation (RPI) as at December, with a small % increase to meet increased costs and the projections in our Business Plan. Some of our tenants, who originally signed a Secure Tenancy for their current property, continue to have their rents set by the Rent Registration Office through the fair rents scheme. These increases are applied every 3 years and are not affected by the Association s annual rent review. The increase in service charges may apply, however, if the Rent Officer has registered the service charges as variable. We will tell you about any increase in service charges, if this applies to you. Rent Comparison The Association is committed to keeping our rents affordable for our properties. On comparing our rents with over 70 other housing associations, the Association s average rent of per week compares favourably. This can be seen in the chart below. Your views 3

4 Proposed Rent Increase Rent Increase The Association has to set the annual rent increase to cover our costs to continue to provide the full range of services to effectively manage and maintain tenant s homes. We are committed, however, to keeping the increase to a minimum level as we are mindful that many of our tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to the current economic climate which has seen huge rises in energy and food prices as well as the impact of the welfare cuts. To maintain our existing service level and meet the projections in our business plan , we are proposing a minimum increase of inflation (RPI) plus 1.0%. Historically, the RPI rate is taken as at December. In December 2013 it was 2.7%, therefore, this would equate to a 3.7% uplift in your rent. For example a 3.7% increase on the average rent for a 3 apartment property would increase the rent from to per month. We also appreciate that tenants may wish to see additional services provided by the Association. To achieve this, it is feasible that the rent increase could be slightly higher to cover such an enhanced service level or to provide additional improvements. We aim to ensure our rents are affordable and comparable with housing associations in the local area and our peer group, but we must ensure that we aim to meet tenants aspirations too, where possible. We are interested in your views on the proposed rent increase. This will allow us to take an informed decision on a reasonable increase in your rent to reflect the current economic situation for tenants and the Association. We will write to you again following the consultation and before any increase is applied. 4 Govan Housing Assocation

5 What Your Rent Pays For The Association s expenditure is listed below. Your rent contributes to these costs. Other funding secured by the Association includes development and regeneration monies from Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government, also Right to Buy Receipts. The Association s total expenditure in the year to 31 March 2013 was 10.71m, representing a decrease of 28% from the previous year ( 14.86m). The areas of expenditure were: 1. Acquiring, building and improving properties 3.96m 2. Other Costs 3.37m 3. Employee costs** 1.07m 4. Repairs to exiting properties 0.97m 5. Property depreciation 0.49m 6. Loan charges 0.36m 7. Office overheads** 0.25m 8. Wider action support 0.09m 9. Property insurance 0.09m 10. Bad debts 0.06m * Includes Direct Labour costs ** Excludes Direct Labour costs The Association is committed to maintaining rent levels at an affordable level. Your views 5

6 Our Approach to Setting the Management Fee Background to Management Fee The Association provides a comprehensive management or factoring service to owner-occupiers. In providing this service the Association accepts responsibility for undertaking a number of duties on behalf of owners in the properties it manages. The costs of providing this factoring service will be borne in the first instance by the Association and then charged to the owners. To cover the Association s costs in operating the service, a management fee is included in the charge. The following costs are included in the fee: Liaison with maintenance contractors Dealing with estate management issues Administering and delivering close and window cleaning services, where applicable Ensuring that the common parts of the building are regularly checked and maintained Issuing invoices twice a year Carrying out regular checks in accordance with our cyclical maintenance programme Ensuring that the Deed of Conditions are adhered to Payment collection Recovery of arrears Updating and maintaining files Liaising with lenders and solicitors on behalf of owners. Proposed Management Fee Increase The Association maintains records of staff time and materials, such as stationery, allocated to the service. These costs are used to reach the fee required to run the factoring service without profit. We would welcome comments from owner occupiers on the proposed increase to the Management Fee and the service we provide. All owners are invoiced on a six monthly basis, in October and April for the period April to September and October to March, respectively. The proposal is that the Management Fee will increase by inflation (2.7%) in 2014/15, which will increase the fee from to The increase will take effect from 29 March Govan Housing Assocation

7 Service Charges In addition to the amount you pay to rent your property, there are additional services such as close and window cleaning that are provided by the Association. To cover the cost of these additional services, the Association makes a small charge to the tenants and residents who receive these services. Our close and window cleaning contractor, Common Area Services (C.A.S), has increased the cost of close and window cleaning by 2%. The service charges for close and window cleaning will increase from 6.43 and 1.72 to 6.56 and 1.75 respectively. The charge will be applied at the same time as your rent increase if a tenant, or with the management fee increase, if an owner. Your views 7

8 Consultation The Association s Management Committee will consider the views from all tenants, residents and other service users in making a decision on the increases to the annual rent, management fee and service charges. They will make their decision at their meeting on 27th February You can register your views in the following ways: - By completing the attached questionnaire and returning it to the Association s office By writing to the Association at the address on this leaflet By ing the Association. Our address is: govanha.org.uk How we will take account of your views We report all your views to the Management Committee who will consider your comments and points of view. This Information will enable our Management Committee to make an informed decision. The closing date for responses is Monday 17th February Govan Housing Association Ltd 35 McKechnie Street, Glasgow G51 3AQ Telephone: Fax: Website: When you have finished with this magazine please recycle it.

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