Social housing tenants could soon be paying £171 more a year as Bassetlaw District Council considers highest rent rise in a decade

Opposition councillors are calling on Bassetlaw District Council to freeze the social housing rents - which is proposed to rise from April this year.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 9:42 am

The local authority has proposed to increase the rent by the full amount it is able to for social housing tenants – which could see people paying up an average of £171 more a year.

Social housing providers set rents each year within a cap calculated on the consumer price index measure of inflation for September plus 1 per cent. For 2022-23, CPI was calculated at 3.1 per cent.

While this 4.1 per cent is a cap rather than a requirement, most providers are expected to raise rents by the full amount.

Conservative councillors are calling on Bassetlaw District Council to freeze the social housing rents.

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Theouncil currently owns 6,653 properties within its Housing Service, and the rise in social housing rent will see the average person an increase of between £2.72 and £3.30 per week, or up to £171 a year.

Bassetlaw Conservative councillor Gerald Bowers said: “Now is not the time for the council to be increasing council housing rents by 4.1 per cent.

“As Bassetlaw recovers from the pandemic, we must do all we can to support residents, that is why the Conservatives are calling on these rents to be frozen for the next twelve months.

“The government only issues guidance to local authorities on the maximum amount of increase.

“However, each local council can decide if they want to increase rents or not, the government has not instructed any council to increase rents.

“These proposed increases will hit the poorest in our communities; we believe this increase is not just unfair but discriminates against those who can least afford it.”

The council said since the Government imposed a self-financing scheme on the authority, the council has relied on tenants’ rent to provide housing services.

The council’s cabinet member for housing, coun Steve Scotthorne said: “Since the Government imposed self-financing on housing providers like us in 2012, we rely on tenants’ rent in order to provide essential housing services, in addition to making record investments directly into tenants’ homes.

“As part of this commitment we will be investing £83 million in tenants’ homes over the next five years.”

The investment will go towards installing new kitchens, bathrooms, and central heating to ensure the tenants’ homes are comfortable places to live.

It will also fund repairs, improve estates and make communities a better place to live, and help to build much needed homes for people of all ages and abilities.

Coun Scotthorne added: “If we do not follow the Government’s National Social Rent Policy and Rent Standard we simply would not be able to keep up with the current levels of investment.

“We have only just emerged from a government reduction on rents, a decrease of one per cent each year between 2016 and 2020, which greatly impacted the level of investment we were able to make.

“Should we freeze rents for this financial year this would lead to a loss of rental income of more than £62 million over 40 years.

“We understand that times are tough for hard working households and we are able to provide help and support if families or individuals feel that they cannot make these additional payments.”

If tenants would like to talk to someone about their individual circumstances, they can contact Bassetlaw District Council' s Rent Team on 0800 590 542.

They can also contact its money advisers on 01909 533 744 if they have any worries about claiming benefits or if they are in debt and would like support and advice.

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