Four per cent rent increases approved for Rotherham Council tenants

A four per cent rent increase for tenants in council properties has been passed by Rotherham Council.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 3:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 4:50 pm

The increase would add an average of £3.09 per week to rent bills.

This is the maximum that rents can be increased in 2022/23 in line with the Government policy, and the average weekly council rent will rise from £75.45 to £78.54.

The proposals were presented to Rotherham full council yesterday (January 10).

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Rotherham council tenants set for rent increase

Councillor Amy Brookes, cabinet member for housing, told the meeting that the increase would allow the council to replace homes lost through the Right to Buy scheme, and maintain standards in council properties.

The rent rise would ‘enable the council to meet these priorities and to ensure long term viability over a 30 year period’.

Coun Brookes added that those in receipt of benefits, ‘will not be directly affected by increasing rents’, because their benefit entitlement will be adjusted to counter the increase.

He said: “This represents 68 per cent of households.”

Coun Brookes added that 200 council homes had already been delivered, and investment of £92 million from the scheme would help the council reach its target of 1000 new homes by 2026.

However, the rent rise did not receive cross party support.

Councillor Adam Carter, leader of the Rotherham Liberal Democrats, said the group wanted to see more council houses built, but added: “We don’t we agree with this rise. We think it should have been more moderate. There’s a real cost of living crisis in the moment.”

Councillor Emily Barley, leader of the Rotherham Conservatives opposed the rise, and said that the rise is ‘something that is directly under our control’.

Councillor Emma Hoddinott, Labour representative for Wickersley North told the meeting: “We still need to invest in people’s houses.

“As tempting it is to keep rents the same or try and lower them them, Actually, we still need to invest in the houses, they still need repairs.

“We still have a waiting list. Unfortunately, we do have to find the funding to do that.

“Two thirds of our tenants won’t pay the full increase.”

What else is rising?

As well as the rent increase, 1,270 residents who are part of community heating schemes also face a rising bill.

The council has proposed to increase the price per kilowatt hour (kWh) from 6.28p to 7.22p – a 15 per cent hike.

A report to the committee states that district heating charges would need to increase by up to 50 per cent, to cover ‘unprecedented increases in prices forgas and electricity’.

The scheme resulted in an overall deficit of £62k to the council during this financial year, and a deficit of around £80k is expected next year.

Shared ownership rents will increase by 5.4 per cent, and a two per cent increase in charges for garages and parking spaces, communal facilities, cooking gas and laundry facilities.