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Rent and service charge review 2024/25

As you may now know, from April, the amount of rent you pay as a Longhurst Group customer will increase. We appreciate that you may have a number of questions about this and so we’ve gathered together a list of queries and provided you with all the information you need to know.

Rent and service charge review 2024/25

Updated: 20 February 2024

At the beginning of each financial year, we review our rents and service charges in line with the current rate of inflation.

After extremely careful consideration, to enable us to keep up with rising costs, we need to increase rents and service charges for the year ahead.

We understand that this increase isn’t welcome news, particularly given other cost-of-living challenges. However, with our costs rising all the time, increasing our rents and charges is critical to ensuring we’re able to maintain and improve our homes and the services we provide.

We’re working incredibly hard to continually improve the service we deliver to you and for us to continue this vital work, we need to make this increase to manage ever-rising costs.

As a not-for-profit organisation, any surplus money is reinvested to deliver services, maintain our homes (where applicable) and build much-needed affordable housing.

If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling 0800 111 4013. Our colleagues are ready and waiting to help you.

How we can support you

We recognise that not all our customers will be affected by this increase in the same way. However, we have tailored support in place to help any customers who need it, regardless of their agreement with us.

So, if you’re a customer who’s worried about paying your rent or other service charges, we’d encourage you to get in touch with us to find out how we can help.

Mindful that not everyone will feel comfortable asking for help directly, we also have other options available, including a dedicated Cost of Living hub – which features a wealth of advice, hints, and tips – as well as further resources on The Hub, our customer engagement platform.

All affected customers have been sent personalised information packs which detail the changes and explain exactly what it means for them. Included in the pack are answers to questions customers are likely to have as well as a full explanation of service charges, where applicable.

We’ve also compiled a series of FAQ booklets for our customers which can be downloaded below.

If you still have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling 0800 111 4013 and pressing option 2 to speak to our Income Team

Information booklets for customers

Here to help

Money Advice Service

Did you know that we have a dedicated team of Money Advisors who are here to help if you’re struggling with your finances? Based across our operational area, the team work closely with our customers to ensure that they’re receiving the benefits they’re entitled to, properly tackling any debt they might have and provide additional support with budgeting.

Meet our advisors

While our advisors are spread across our operational area, depending on your circumstances, they will be happy to visit you at home, speak to you over the phone or arrange for you to visit one of our offices.

Pam Malhi

Pam Malhi - Money AdvisorPreviously a Welfare Rights Officer at the local authority helping people claim benefits and challenge poor decisions, she became a Money Advisor after taking a secondment to the role from her job as an Income Officer at Longhurst Group.

In total, she has over 20 years’ experience in welfare rights work.

Pam says she likes to approach each customer’s case as it comes, depending on individual circumstances.

Angie Noble

Angie has been a Money Advisor for over 15 years, having previously worked in Supported Housing.

Angie prefers to meet customers on a face-to-face basis as she feels it has a more personal feeling and helps her to get to know the customer better. Angie is a firm believer that everyone needs help from time to time and that it is nothing to be ashamed of.

Some of the regular cases Angie comes across include issues with Universal Credit, sorting out new benefit entitlements following the death of a partner and dealing with a range of Housing Benefit enquiries.

Penny Jeffers

Penny Jeffers - Money Advisor

Penny joined Longhurst Group in November 2021 and has worked directly with tenants in housing for over 20 years.

Her roles have included Tenant Inclusion Officer, Welfare Reform Officer and Money Advisor. She is a qualified member of the Institute of Money Advisers (IMA).

Penny has significant experience both as a money advisor and a money coach, providing welfare benefits, budgeting and debt advice, guidance and support.

She enjoys helping customers to identify opportunities for maximising their income or reducing their outgoings, and supporting them with claims, appeals, and grant applications.

Penny aims to build a relationship of trust with customers, identifying the most appropriate solutions and breaking these into manageable bite-size chunks. Agreeing a way forward based on the customer's individual circumstances is key to success.

Penny also enjoys developing and delivering coaching on a range of money advice topics. Examples include switching energy suppliers, benefits for older people, healthy eating on a budget and Christmas on a budget, to name just a few.

Penny says the best part of her job is the satisfaction she gets from helping people to overcome their money worries and seeing them end up in a better place financially.

Penny would advise anyone with money worries to contact the Money Advice Team straightaway – you’d be surprised at the advice or guidance they are able to offer.

Stuart Dearden

Stuart spent more than 20 years working for the Department for Work and Pensions, becoming increasingly disillusioned with the way the benefits system put obstacles in the way of those who needed the support.

He left the DWP and after some time with Citizens Advice, he joined Longhurst Group to take on a fresh challenge and to help improve lives.

Stuart believes in face-to-face meetings with customers and that by seeing them in their home environment helps to give him an idea of what matters to them and what their priorities are. He believes people are more relaxed and open in their own homes.

If this approach doesn’t suit a particular customer, Stuart is happy to talk over the phone but whichever way first contact is made, he is keen to build trust and show the customer that he is there to help them.

Stuart says many customers he sees experience difficulties with the benefit system, so a lot of his time is spent trying to pick a way through the problems of Universal Credit and PIP. This ranges from seeing if somebody is eligible to receive a benefit, right through to claims stages and challenging decisions.

He also helps customers sort out payment arrangements when they have fallen behind on their essential bills such as Council Tax or utility suppliers.

Stuart enjoys the feeling of helping to bring even a few extra pounds into a household so that they can manage life a little easier.

Employment and Training Advice

We can also provide you with tailored support if you are looking for work. With a background in recruitment and career advice, our Employment and Training advisor Rob Friday can help you with the steps you need to take to find work or education opportunities.

This can include training and work experience to suit your needs, as well as CV writing, interview practice and a range of tried-and-tested job-hunting techniques.

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