Your rent and other charges
Paying rent and service charges
The rent and service charges that you pay cover the costs of us managing and maintaining your home. You will only have to pay a service charge for services to both you and other tenants (for example, gritting, cutting grass on your estate or cleaning stairways in a block of flats). Our charges do not cover Council Tax or any charges raised by the Scottish Water Authority.
You must make your first rent payment when you sign for your tenancy. Your rent is due to be paid on the first day of each month for the month ahead. It is up to you to decide how often you want to make payments into your rent account, as long as you pay enough to cover your monthly rent charge.
How to pay your rent
You can pay rent in various ways.
- By Direct Debit. This may be the easiest method for you to make sure you don’t forget to pay as any changes to your rent are made automatically. Ask us for a Direct Debit form.
- Using ‘Allpay’ at any PayPoint using your Allpay card, or by ‘Callpay’ over the phone using your credit card or debit card.
- By standing order from your bank account. Ask us for a form.
- By cheque. Make the cheque out to Albyn Housing Society Ltd. You must write your name, address and tenancy agreement number on the back of the cheque so we know it is you who has paid the money.
- By cash at any post office or at any branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland. We will give you a card to use when making payments.
- By cash at our Invergordon office (not in Inverness).
- Through online banking. Please ask for details.
What we use your rent for
We use the rent you pay to:
- repair and maintain your home;
- manage the services we provide to you; and
- repay loans, and the interest on them, taken out to buy or build houses.
Sometimes we provide services to look after areas that you share with your neighbours, such as cutting grass and cleaning stairways. We will make a charge to cover the costs we have to pay for that service, and you must pay it with your rent.
Full details of the income we receive and how we use it are included in our Annual Report. We will make this available for you each year.
How do we set charges?
We set your rent in line with the Rent Setting Policy agreed by our Board. Information on this policy is available from the Manager of our Finance and Corporate Services Department.
The rent for each home depends on the size, type and general features of the home. So, for example, a three-bedroom detached house with a private garden and garage will have a higher rent than a one-bedroom flat with a shared drying green.
We aim to make rents affordable to people on low incomes and to make them similar to the rents paid by other housing association or council tenants in the area.
Our board reviews our rents and other charges each year, and any increases usually come into force on 1 April each year. We will contact you towards the end of each year to let you know about any changes we are proposing for the following year and to ask for your views.
If you have been a tenant with us since before 1989, you may have the right to have your rent set by the Rent Service Scotland. In this instance we can only apply for a rent to be reviewed every three years.
If you were a tenant of Scottish Homes before we became the landlord of your home, we will only increase your rent in line with the agreement we made with you at that time.
If you need more information or think that your rent has not been set or increased correctly, phone our Finance Department on 01349 855963.
Difficulty paying rent
If you cannot pay your rent on time, or there is a problem with your Housing Benefit, get in touch with us straight away. We can only help you if you let us know there is a problem. If you do not pay your rent you are in danger of losing your home.
If you do not pay your rent when it was due or when you said you would, we will write to you asking you to pay. If we contact you (by phone, email, text message, letter or otherwise), you must get in touch with us, even if you think you have paid what is due. When you contact us we will try to find out if you are getting all the help you are entitled to. You can talk to us in confidence, either in our offices or in your own home. We will be able to look at your circumstances and agree with you how much you can afford to pay to cover your rent and pay off any rent arrears. We might put you in touch with another organisation that specialises in debt or benefit advice.
If you do not contact us after getting reminder letters, we will take stronger action to get the rent and rent arrears. This could mean that we take you to court and get an order. This could lead to you being evicted. If we have to take you to court you will also have to pay our legal fees, which will be high. You might also find that your credit rating is affected.
We would rather not take court action against our tenants, and we will always try to help tenants avoid getting into debt in the first place. However, we depend on all our tenants to pay their rent so that we can manage our housing properly and keep it in good repair, and keep future rent increases as low as possible.
Remember, the sooner you talk to us about any problems you might have, the sooner we will be able to help.
If you have paid more rent than you owe, you can ask for a refund by writing to your housing services officer. They will confirm the amount you are due and arrange to have a cheque sent to you