Council to decide on increase in social housing rents
2 February 2022Councillors will this month vote on a rental increase for its Council housing, in line with Government guidelines.
A 4.1 per cent increase will be discussed by Cabinet next week and a final decision will be made at this month’s full Council meeting. While we appreciate this is a difficult increase at this time and this is not underestimated, the increase is necessary so that we can continue to invest in homes and communities to provide energy efficient homes and improve local neighbourhoods.
If the rise is agreed, it will take effect from April 2022 and be reinvested back into improving and maintaining the Council’s social housing stock.
There is also a proposed 3.1 per cent increase in garage rents, charges for lifeline services and management charge for leaseholders.
Councillor Matt Bryan, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Climate Emergency, said:
“Maintaining and improving the homes and neighbourhoods of our tenants is critical to enhancing wellbeing.
“The rents from our stock enable us to continue to improve the standards of service we provide to our tenants and implement the 30-year investment plan. The costs of doing this have risen as materials and other costs have increased.
“We want to ensure we provide our tenants with good quality, well maintained and affordable homes which achieve the decent homes standard and offer tenants good quality services. This will improve health and wellbeing and support a sense of community.
“Making improvements to the energy performance of our housing stock, reducing tenants’ energy costs will help to tackle fuel poverty and meet the borough’s targets for reducing carbon emissions.
“The Council and ForHousing provide support and advice to tenants who may struggle to pay. The support is person-centred and ensures tenants are able to access a range of services to support their individual circumstances.”
Around 76% of Council tenants receive a welfare benefit that helps to cover their housing costs and any increase in rents will mean the benefit received will increase to cover the cost.
The establishment of a tenancy support fund for low-income Council tenants unable to pay their rent to enable them to retain their tenancy will also be discussed by Cabinet.
If the rise is agreed, tenants will be informed of the support that is available in a letter notifying them of the rent increase.
ForHousing supports any tenant who may have difficulty paying their rent, have questions on their welfare benefits or need help managing money or debt. You can contact them via their website live chat, email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 0300 123 5522 to speak to a member of staff.
The Council in the last two years, working in partnership with ForHousing, has: