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How do I challenge HA rent increase?

I moved into this (Housing Association) property nearly a year ago after being made homeless (so I had to take this property, I had no choice). It is affordable rent, not social rent. The rent is very high for the area. In April, they increased it from £156 a week to £170 a week (very little of this is a service charge - no idea what that covers as it's a house, not a flat; I have asked but have never been answered). This is more than the 7% increase suggested in today's MSE email, but it also makes it way more than 80% of the market rate - set out by it being "affordable rent". The market rate for a 2-bed property in my area is £700 PM. 

I have contacted my housing benefit team, who have said they cannot help. I have contacted my local councillor, who has also said she cannot help. I doubt my local MP will help. What do I do? It's keeping me trapped on benefits because I cannot afford to go into part-time work (I cannot work full-time due to my health) because I would lose too much.  

Also, can they charge more because it is an adapted property? I have the need for this, and it's been poorly adapted (not for me, when it was built), and it doesn't actually meet my needs, but they will not assess me for somewhere else for another year due to the waiting list. 


  • MultiFuelBurner
    MultiFuelBurner Forumite Posts: 1,211
    1,000 Posts First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    This might help

    Give the housing ombudsman a call or email them.
  • Jude57
    Jude57 Forumite Posts: 486
    Seventh Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper
    This might help

    Give the housing ombudsman a call or email them.
    Ombudsmen won't deal with first level complaints, it's not what they are for. You must first complain, in writing, to the Housing Association. Their complaints process will be on their website, with details of the target timelines for acknowledging and responding to complaints. Give them a reasonable time beyond that timeline (say, one calendar month) then, if there's still no response, or if you receive an incomplete response, escalate to the Ombudsman.

    My Housing Association has also increased rents significantly this financial year, but given there have been no increase/negligible increases in the past five years, much as it's causing me to have to cut everything else to the bone to pay it, I do at least understand it. Housing Associations are facing higher costs for salaries, materials for repairs, fuel, lease and repair costs for vehicles, increased insurance costs, their own rents for business premises and business rates, higher energy costs for business premises and for communal areas of their rental properties and so on, so have to find those costs from somewhere and, unfortunately, that somewhere is from rents.

    OP are you certain you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to? Put your details into an online calculator to double check. entitledto is generally a good one.

    OP your local authority will have a Discretionary Housing Fund which you should have been told about by the Housing Department. You can apply to that Fund for help with your rent. Your local authority will also have at least one specific officer who deals with housing matters for disabled people and you should seek support from them. 

    By all means write to your MP. It may take time for them to respond, but your situation is exactly what they were elected to help with. I'm appalled that your local Councillor hasn't been more help. If you can bring yourself to try again for local support, have a look on your Council's website for which Councillors are involved in Housing or Disability and contact them. Again, it's what they are elected to do so do seek their support.
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