Rents for council house tenants set to rise in South Yorkshire town

Rotherham Council is set to approve plans for a rent increase of 1.5 per cent for council house tenants.

Monday, 14th December 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 14th December 2020, 12:15 pm

The proposal includes a shared ownership rent increased of 1.6 per cent, and a two per cent increase in charges for garages and parking spaces, communal facilities, cooking gas and use of laundry facilities.

The authority’s cabinet is expected to agree changes to bring in the average weekly council rent up from £74.21 to £75.33.

The average weekly shared ownership rent would rise from £46.64 to £47.39.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Rotherham Town Hall. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

The rent hikes would generate an extra £46,000 for the authority, which is facing a devastating shortage of up to £40m due to the coronavirus crisis.

Garage rent for council tenants could rise from £5.10 to £5.20 per week, and £6.12 to £6.24 for non-council tenants.

The council’s cabinet will also consider rises for parking spaces at Wharncliffe Flats, gas, communal facilities and laundry, at their next meeting on December 21.

A report to members states: “The council currently owns circa 20,130 homes, 544 leasehold homes and 3,375 garages with a turnover from rents and other sources approaching £84m per annum.

“Universal Credit roll out continues throughout Rotherham which has seen over 4,841 tenants now receiving Universal Credit with over 1,200 tenants in receipt of an Alternate Payment Arrangement where housing costs are paid direct to the Council.

“The impact on rent arrears is now starting to become evident at individualaccount level, with the average arrears for a tenant on Universal Credit being £359.21 compared to £192.34 for other tenants.

“This presents a significant risk to income collection. To mitigate this risk all new tenants who are eligible for Universal Credit have to make a claim and set up either a direct debit or a recurring card payment for rent prior to being issued with the keys for their new home.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.