Here’s why some Crawley Borough Council tenants will receive rent refunds

Crawley Borough Council’s tenants could receive a refund after a mistake was made in calculating their rents.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 12:36 pm
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The refund applies to council tenants living in existing buildings (not new builds), who have become tenants since April 2014. Existing tenancies that started before April 2014 have not been affected.

Tenancies that have started since 2014 which are not affected include tenancies in ‘new build’ properties, for example homes in Forge Wood, Bridgefield House, Lonsdale Court and John Brackpool Court.

Any tenant who is eligible for a refund will receive a letter from the council this week, explaining what has happened and what happens next. Further information is also available online at crawley.gov.uk/rentcorrections

Since 2002 the government has issued guidance to try and prevent variations in rent across the country. It does this through what is called a ‘target rent’. When properties are re-let the council amends the rent on properties to this target rent in order to comply.

In April 2014 the council decided to remove the ‘rent-free’ weeks and start charging rent over a 52-week year as opposed to 48 weeks of the year. The total amount payable over the year would have been exactly the same, but the weekly amount would have differed as did the number of payments each year.

Unfortunately, new tenancies that commenced after April 2014 did not have the 48 to 52-week change applied to the ‘target rent’ due to an administrative error.

This is how some tenants may have been overcharged on their weekly rent since their tenancy started.

The council has sincerely and unreservedly apologised for the error. All affected rents are being adjusted back to the start date of the tenancy. The overpayment of rent will be calculated and refunds will be made,

Due to the number of tenants affected, it may take some time for council officers to process refund requests. However, designated staff are specifically working on processing refunds and are undertaking this work as quickly as possible.

If a tenant hasn’t received a letter, their rent level is correct and their rent account is unaffected. The council asks that they do not contact the council so that Housing Officers can work through this issue as quickly as possible.

The council is also urging tenants to beware of scammers because it’s possible they could target tenants about refunds.