Rent review

Who is my landlord? (s48 Landlord & Tenants Act, 1985)

If you live in the Babergh district, your landlord is Babergh District Council. If you live in Mid Suffolk, your landlord is Mid Suffolk District Council. The registered address of both district councils is Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX

What is rent?

Rent is the amount you are charged for the use and occupation of your home. The rent is also used to maintain and repair your home. Additional services provided may be charged on top of your rent in certain accommodation (see Service Charges).

How is my rent reviewed?

The Government allows social landlords to increase rent each year by a maximum of the September Consumer Price Index (CPI) +1%. CPI is one of the figures used to measure inflation and is published monthly by the Office on National Statistics, considering changes in prices paid by UK consumers for everyday goods and services. The increase applies to the net rent and does not apply to any service charges you may pay to your total or gross rent. In September 2023, CPI was 6.7% meaning the rent increase from April will be 7.7%.

What this means for you?

Depending on which type of rent you pay, the rent review will affect you differently (see the table below).

If you are unsure what type of rent you pay, please contact us on 0300 123 4000, option 3.

What does my rent pay for?

Rent is paid into a budget called the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and this is legally ringfenced to cover the costs associated with providing the housing service.

Each year we produce a HRA report showing what your rent is used for. You can see the report for 2022/23 on our websites now, and the report covering the 2023/24 period will be published in September.,

What are service charges?

Service charges cover the cost of managing, maintaining, repairing and insuring common sections of the building and external communal areas.

Service charges are set to recover the cost of services, not to generate profit. We operate a fixed service charges regime – this means that, should the costs for your building or estate be overspent at the end of the year, we cannot come back to you to request any further money. If there is an underspend, no money will be returned to you. Through effective budget management we aim to set service charges accurately to avoid over or under charging. However, unexpected costs may occur during the year.

Sheltered Housing & Service Charges

Sheltered housing is for people aged over 55 years who are normally able to live quite independently but need occasional help.

Often, sheltered housing will have a Sheltered Housing Officer who can be called in an emergency, as well as the other security features in the buildings, such as emergency alarm systems.

We charge a social rent in sheltered housing. In addition to this, we also apply service charges to cover the cost of any additional services we provide. 

The law says the charge must be ‘reasonable’ and the services provided must be carried out to a ‘reasonable’ standard. You will only be charged if your home benefits from that service.

We operate a fixed service charges regime – this means that if the costs of maintaining your building or estate is overspent at the end of the year, we cannot come back to you to request any further money. It also means that, should the building or estate budget be underspent, no money will be returned to you. 

Historically the service charges have increased by a fixed percentage, whilst these have been based on the previous 12 months costs, we have not increased to recovered the full cost of the services we provide, as illustrated by the average service charges below:

District Council

Cost of Services (weekly)

What we charged (weekly)

Weekly Shortfall









The average rent and service charges for sheltered housing after the rent review may look something like this (before Housing Benefits or Universal Credit):


Before review 

Annual review 

After review 



+ 7.7% = £6.38 


Gross Service Charges


+ £13.62


Gross Rent

(Rent + Service Charges)


Note: The examples above are only for illustration purposes.


Before review 

Annual review 

After review 



+ 7.7% = £6.20 


Gross Service Charges




Gross Rent

(Rent + Service Charges)


Garage Rent

Garage rent is reviewed each year in both councils using the Retail Price Index (RPI), produced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for September (8.9%).

The average rent after the rent review for garages may look something like this:


Before review 

Annual review 

After review 



+ 8.9% = £0.84


Note: The examples above are only for illustration purposes.

Why is my rent different from my neighbours - our properties are the same?

Out of respect for people's personal information and our legal obligations we will never discuss someone else's account with a third party. 

In general terms, rents may differ for a few reasons:

  • The rent is set considering the property valuation, the number of bedrooms and the local and national earnings in 1999. Over time, different regulations have applied which may impact on how the rent has been set on identical properties. 
  • The property is a different tenure e.g., it may be an Affordable Rent or Shared Ownership property.
  • The rent may have been set correctly under the regulations in place when it was let but it did not hit the ‘target rent’ during the period of convergence (prior to 2015).

I am on Housing Benefit, what do I do?

We notify the Housing Benefit Authority of the changes to your rent account on your behalf. 

If your circumstances have changed outside of the rent review (e.g. the number of hours you work has changed or you have someone living with you who has turned 16 but is still in full time education), you must inform Housing Benefits of this as soon as possible to make sure the correct rate of benefits is paid.  Housing Benefits can be contacted on 0300 123 4000. 

l am getting Universal Credit, what do I do?

During 2024/2025 there are 53 weeks. Universal Credit is paid over a 52-week period, so if you are getting the housing element of Universal Credit you will need to plan to cover the additional rent week in the 2024/25 financial year as UC will not cover this.

Speak to your Income Officer in the meantime about paying a bit more towards your rent each week. This will mean you have enough money on your rent account to pay for the extra week and avoid going into rent arrears.

You must report your rent increase via your online journal, but you will not be able to do this until the date that the increase takes effect (on 1 April 2024).

A task should appear in your ‘to do’ list to enable you to report this change. You should report the change via this ‘to do’ on the date that the rent increases (or as soon as possible afterwards).

If your Universal Credit claim is a telephone claim and you don’t have an online account, you can call the Universal Credit service centre on 0800 328 5644.

Ways to pay.

Our preferred method of payment is by direct debit.

Once you’ve set up the instruction with us, you don’t need to do anything. The payment will be collected on your chosen payment date (we currently offer the following payment date: 1st, 6th, 15th, 20th, 21st, or 28th).

If you pay your rent by standing order, you will need to inform your bank of the new rent before it is due to pay. 

You can find more information on how to pay your rent:

BDC: How to pay your rent - Babergh District Council - Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils - Working Together

MSDC: How to pay your rent - Mid Suffolk District Council - Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils - Working Together

Please note you must allow 10 working days for a direct debit to be set up, so if you set up a direct debit for payment on the first on the month and there is not enough time left in the month, it will not take it until the following month, and you will need to make alternative arrangements to pay your rent that month. 

Advantage of paying by direct debit:

No late payment charges.

No worries about letters about missed payment.

No wasting time going through bills and manually sending individual payments.

No need to worry about if there are 52 or 53 weeks in the year.

If you are worried about multiple bills being presented on the same day, you can ask for your bank to prioritise your rent direct debit under something called the right of first appropriation. This means that the bank or building society will ensure the direct debit for your rent is paid first. 

By paying this way, you have the peace of mind of being protected by the direct debit guarantee. This means that, in the rare event there’s an error in the set up or collection of your direct debit, e.g. if a payment is taken on the incorrect date, it will be reversed by the bank. 

I am struggling financially and need help.

If you are struggling to pay your rent or are worried about paying your rent and/or other debts, please contact the Income Team by phone or email to discuss your situation in more detail. It would be helpful (although not essential) if you could also complete an Income & Expenditure sheet and email it to or call 0300 123 4000.

If you are on Housing Benefits or Universal Credit you may be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). Or, if you are struggling due to the cost-of-living crisis, you may be able to make an application for assistance from the Housing Support Fund (HSF) a government fund administered by the local authority. Please contact the Income Team for more information.

The following organisations may be able to help:

Citizens Advice:

Sudbury: 01787 321400,,

Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk, 01449 676060,

Step Change,, 0800 138 1111