Rent increase of 6.7% for council house tenants proposed
Council house tenants in Caerphilly could see their monthly rent charges go up by 6.7% next spring.
The 6.7% rise proposed is the maximum the council would be allowed to increase rents, in line with Welsh Government rules preventing rent outstripping inflation.
Failing to raise rents could have a “detrimental” effect on the council’s ability to maintain its housing stock, and could lead to more borrowing in future, a new report warns.
Caerphilly Council currently has over 10,000 households on the books of its housing service Caerphilly Homes.
The average weekly rent charged by Caerphilly Homes is currently £99.72, according to the report, which also found the council was charging the third-lowest rent of any local authority in Wales.
More than three-quarters (77%) of the council’s tenants receive some sort of financial support towards their rent, and any increase in weekly costs will be covered by housing benefits or Universal Credit.
Concerns that tenants could be hit hard by the rent rises were raised at Caerphilly Council’s housing and environment scrutiny committee on Tuesday (November 21), with Judith Pritchard, a Plaid Cymru councillor on the committee, saying that she was “worried about what’s going to happen to the other 23%”.
Committee member Martyn James, also Plaid, questioned why the council was going ahead with a rent increase when UK inflation levels were slowing down.
Additional resources needed
Head of housing Nick Taylor-Williams said council rents last year had stayed nearly 4% below UK inflation levels, meaning the local authority’s Housing Revenue Account lost out on more than £2 million.
Committee members voted 11-1 in favour of recommending the proposed rent rises to the council’s cabinet, which will review the plan before a final decision is made.
Following the meeting, the council’s cabinet member for housing, Shayne Cook, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Additional resource is necessary to be able to meet the demands on maintaining WHQS (the Welsh Housing Quality Standard), the provision of new affordable housing with the cabinet recently agreeing to build 1,000 new homes, decarbonisation of the existing stock and increasing support for tenants to sustain tenancies, reduce homelessness and minimise evictions.”
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