Rent payment and rent cards
The content of this page applies to the Department of Infrastructure Public Sector Housing section, although the other housing authorities apply similar rules and guidelines. If in doubt, contact your housing authority.
About your rent
To make sure your rent account runs smoothly, you should:
- pay your rent when it is due
- let us know if you go away for any length of time
- contact us immediately if you have a problem paying your rent
- tell the housing officer about any changes in circumstances which may affect the amount of rent you pay, for example, new lodgers
To prevent problems and for information on how to act if you encounter financial difficulties, please see the page on Problems Paying and Debt.
How rent is set and who sets it
Your rent is increased annually every April. The Council of Ministers sets the percentage that it will increase by.
Your rental charge is made up of a rent element and a rate element. The rent is set on a points system which takes into account such things as the size of your property and number of bedrooms.
Your local authority sets the local rate.
Knowing what you will pay
When you sign up to your tenancy we tell you how much the rent is and when you should start to pay. The Department of Infrastructure has 2 non collection weeks over Christmas and New Year as payments for this period are spread across the rest of the year. When you start your tenancy we give you a rent card which also shows the amount you should pay. Please try to use this card every time you pay your rent at the Post Office or at the central counter at Markwell House.
Please note: If you are in arrears or on an agreed repayment plan then you will need to continue paying your rent over the 2 rent free periods in order to bring your account up to date.
How to pay your rent
You must pay your rent and any other charges on time. Your rent is payable weekly in advance on Mondays, but you may be able to pay by agreement with the Department every 2 weeks or monthly if you prefer as long as your account is paid in advance. You can pay your rent in a number of different ways, for example:
Direct from your bank or building society account by Direct Debit. When you sign a Direct Debit mandate this allows the amount taken from your bank account to be adjusted automatically (after we have written to tell you) when your rent increases or decreases. It is important to make sure that there is always enough money in your account when the payment is due otherwise your bank will refuse to pay the Direct Debit and will usually charge you for the failed payment. If the payment is not made as arranged, your rent account will be in arrears and in breach of your tenancy agreement. Please see the page on the Standard Tenancy Agreement. Also, if you would like to pay your rent by Direct Debit you can download the Direct Debit form (see downloadable documents). Once you have printed off and completed the form, please submit it to the Department (on the address shown on the form) with a covering letter
Paying your rent at the Post Office counter – you can pay your rent by cash, cheque or debit card at your local Post Office. Remember to take your rent card with you to support which ever form of payment you chose. Cheques should be made payable to the Post Office, but please make sure that you have sufficient money in your account to cover the cheque
Paying rent by post - Never send cash through the post. You should send a cheque or postal order along with your rent card which will be returned to you. As above, please make sure that you have sufficient money in your account to cover the cheque as the Department reserves the right to refuse to accept cheque payments from tenants where previous cheques have bounced
Paying your rent direct from the Department of Health and Social Care – If you are on Income Support or other benefits, you may be able to pay your rent directly from your benefit. Contact the housing officer (tel: +44 1624 685955) or the DHSC (tel: +44 1624 685094) for advice on this method of payment
Paying your rent by debit card – Please contact the Public Estates and Housing Division at Markwell House, tel: +44 1624 685955
Your rent card is your proof of payment. When making a payment at the Post Office please remember to get it stamped. This will ensure that you have a receipt of all the payments that have been made.
The payments for the 2 non collection weeks over Christmas and New Year are spread across the rest of the year. However, if you are in arrears, or on an agreed payment plan, then you will need to continue paying your rent over those 2 weeks in order to bring your account up to date.
You are advised to keep your rent card safe and secure, together with previous rent cards, as they may be required as proof of payment in the future. If an incident occurs and you do lose your rent card contact the Department’s customer service team tel: +44 1624 685955 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Problems with payment
For information on how to deal with problems paying your rent, please go to the page on problems paying and debt. Remember to contact the Department as soon as possible to help organise your payments. Telephone +44 1624 685955 or email: email@example.com