Paying your rent

When you sign a lease for your house and become a tenant of The Highland Council, you are then responsible for paying the rent. The rent due to the Council is used to pay for repairs, provide other council housing services and to repay the money borrowed by the Council to build and modernise council houses in the Highlands.

How will I know how much to pay?

How much rent you pay will depend on the type and size of house that you rent.

Following rent restructure in 2010/11, the weekly rent charges for 2013/14 are:

Flat/Maisonette

  • Bedsit -  £49.03
  • 1 bed -   £56.99
  • 2 bed -   £64.95
  • 3 bed -   £72.91
  • 4 bed -   £80.87
  • 5 bed -   £88.82
  • 6 bed -   £96.78
  • 7 bed -  £104.74
  • 8 bed -  £112.70
  • 9 bed -  £120.66

House/Bungalow

  • Bedsit -  £53.28 
  • 1 bed -   £61.24
  • 2 bed -   £69.19
  • 3 bed -   £77.15
  • 4 bed -   £85.11
  • 5 bed -   £93.07
  • 6 bed -  £101.03
  • 7 bed -  £108.99
  • 8 bed -  £116.94
  • 9 bed -  £123.68

New Build Supplement

  • Bedsit -   £3.71
  • 1 bed -    £4.77
  • 2 bed -    £8.84
  • 3 bed -    £6.90
  • 4 bed -    £7.96
  • 5 bed -    £9.02
  • 6 bed -   £10.08
  • 7 bed -   £11.14
  • 8 bed -   £12.20
  • 9 bed -   £13.26

These rents will apply to all new tenancies.

Rents for current tenants are being adjusted up or down by £2.50 annually until the rent matches the level shown above – this may take several years in some cases, and the annual rent increase will always be applied to the structure above, and individual rents. This means that for the next few years, many tenants will be on a different rent than the one shown here – if in any doubt about the rent being charged, contact either the housing policy officer on 01463 702865 or Housing & Property Business Support.

When you start a new tenancy, we will tell you how much rent you will have to pay in the letter offering you the tenancy and again when you sign the lease.   You will be issued with a Rent Card in the form of a plastic swipe card.

Please note: Highland Council tenants sign a lease agreement at the beginning of their tenancy through which they are bound to pay their rent regularly and in advance.

Every year, the Council has to work out how much rent it needs to cover the cost of all the housing services.   At the end of February or the beginning of March, we will write to you telling you how much we will be charging for the next year.   You should get the letter at least 28 days before we start charging the new rent.

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How can I pay my rent?

When you become a tenant, we will start a rent account for you and provide you with a swipe card.   Each week, we will charge your rent to this account and every time you make a payment, we will show this on your rent account.   If you do not pay your rent by the end of the week, you will be in arrears of rent.   You can also pay monthly or fortnightly – but you must always pay in advance.

Direct DebitDirect Debit

You can pay your rent by direct debit – just complete the Direct Debit Mandate Form and send it to us.

What are the advantages of paying by Direct Debit?

  • It is cheap and convenient - no car parking costs, bus fares or postage and no queuing at Service Points or cash offices.
  • It's safe - you are covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee - we cannot by law take money from your bank account without giving you 14 days notice of the first payment and any subsequent changes to payments. You are protected by the Banks’ Indemnity Scheme and if an error arises, you will receive a full refund.
  • You can budget your rent payments either weekly or with equal monthly payments across the year and choose your payment dates.
  • Your rent is paid automatically and on time - no need to remember when to pay and once set up the arrangement will then continue from year to year.

Direct Debit payment options:

  • Option 1 Weekly on a Friday
  • Option 2 Fortnightly on a Friday
  • Option 3 12 Monthly instalments on the 1st of the month
  • Option 4 12 Monthly instalments on the 15th of the month
  • Option 5 12 Monthly instalments on the 28th of the month
  • Option 6 Quarterly instalments on the 1st of the following months: April, July, October and January – ONLY AVAILABLE TO CUSTOMERS WITH ANNUAL GARAGE/GARAGE SITE OR LAND ACCOUNTS.

If you pay your rent weekly, you get 4 “charge free” weeks in the year – these will be the four weeks before the end of the financial year in April.

If you pay your rent monthly, you will not have any charge free periods.  Your monthly rent is calculated as follows: “weekly rent x 48/12=monthly rent. 

Please be aware that if you pay monthly, you must still pay in advance.

You can also pay Garage, Garage Site and Land rents using Direct Debit, as well as your Highland Council Home Contents Insurance premiums – just complete a separate form for each account.

Return completed forms to:

The Highland Council
Housing and Property
Glenurquhart Road
INVERNESS
IV3 5NX

What other ways to pay are there?

There are also various other ways in which you can pay your rent:

  • at any cash office or Highland Council Service Point (using your plastic swipe card) by debit or credit card only;
  • at most post offices (using your plastic swipe card) by cash, cheque, debit or credit card – please note that individual retailers may not accept cheques;
  • at any outlet (including Post Offices) displaying the Paypoint sign (using your plastic swipe card) by cash, cheque, debit or credit card – please note that individual retailers may not accept cheques.   (Please note that Post Offices can accept payments of up to £999, but at other outlets, the maximum which can be accepted in any one transaction is £199.  If you wish to pay more than this, the amount can be put through in two or more separate transactions).
  • by deduction from salaries or wages (for Highland Council employees)
  • by telephone on 0845 602 4232 using a debit or credit card  - (Mon-Fri 8am to 6pm, and Sat 9am to 12 noon). Payments by Credit Card will incur a 2% charge;
  • by making a payment over the internet at the online payments page by debit or credit card
  • you can also set up regular payments by Bank Credit Transfer, Tele-banking or Standing Order using your payment reference number and Sort Code 82 70 13 and Bank Account number 10000652.

If you pay at your local Service Point, Post Office or Paypoint outlet, you will be given a receipt.

If you pay at the Post Office or through the bank there will be some delay between when you make your payment and the payment being received by the Council and appearing on your rent account.

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Charge free” weeks

Each year, there are 4 weeks in each financial year when rent is not charged. This means that your yearly rent is charged over 48 weeks instead of 52.  If you are paying the full amount due each week, you will not need to pay rent over these 4 “free weeks”.

If you pay your rent weekly by cash or debit/credit card, these are usually two weeks at Christmas/New Year, when the Council Offices are not open, and at the beginning of April.

If you pay your rent weekly by Direct Debit or Standing Order, you still get 4 “charge free” weeks in the year – however, these will be the four weeks in March before the end of the financial year in April. You will be sent a payment schedule when you set up a Direct Debit so you can see the dates your rent payment will be collected from your bank account. 

If you pay your rent monthly, you will not have any charge free periods.  Your monthly rent is calculated as follows: “weekly rent x 48/12 = monthly rent.

Please also note that, if you are in arrears, you will normally be asked to continue paying any agreement to repay the amount owed over the “charge free” weeks.

Please be aware that if you pay monthly, you must still pay in advance.

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Quarterly Statements

Once every three months we will send you a statement of your rent account.  This will show the date that all charges are made to your rent account together with all payments made whether by you or by Housing Benefit.   The statement will also show the balance of your account at the end of each week. 

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When should I pay my rent?

Your rent is due every week and should be paid at the start of the week.   Each year, there are 4 weeks when rent is not charged.   These are usually at Christmas, when the Council Offices are not open, and at the beginning of April.   This means that your yearly rent is charged over 48 weeks instead of 52.  If you are paying the full amount due each week, you will not need to pay rent over these 4 “free weeks”.   If you choose to pay monthly, you will pay the yearly rent in 12 monthly instalments.

Full details about paying your rent will be explained when you sign your lease.

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What if I cannot pay each week?

If you have problems paying your rent, you should contact your local Housing Office immediately.

If you have not paid the full rent due by the end of the week, we will write to you asking you to pay the amount due or contact us.   We will try to make an arrangement with you to pay the rent but you may also want to seek advice from The Highland Council Money Advice Service, or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

The earlier you contact us, the easier it will be to work out a way to clear any arrears of rent.

If you do not pay your rent or do not stick to your agreement to repay the arrears due, we may take legal action to end your tenancy by eviction.

Before we can evict you from your home, we have to go to Court and prove to the Sheriff that you have not paid the rent that was due.   The Sheriff will only give us permission to evict you if he thinks we have acted reasonably.   You have the opportunity to argue your case to the Sheriff, or you can agree to pay the arrears by instalments. See our Arrears leaflet for more information.

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Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is available to people with a low income to help pay their rent.

For more information, please e-mail: operations.team@highland.gov.uk

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