Rotherham rents still ‘very low’

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RENTS for council tenants in Rotherham are going up by more than double the rate of inflation - but will still be ‘some of the lowest in the country’.

Rotherham Council’s cabinet has agreed a 6.19 per cent rise in 2013/14, equivalent to £4.30 per week.

The average weekly council house rent in Rotherham will be £73.81 if paid over 49 weeks.

Coun Rose McNeely, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “I know only too well that many people living in council properties are facing a very challenging time at the moment, and they will be looking to us to constrain any rent increase.

“We have done what we can, but our historically-low rents have resulted in us having to increase them year-on-year to meet the Government’s rent convergence target in 2015/16.”

Rents are having to be increased to similar levels as housing association properties, so council housing can become self-financing and cover the cost of repairs and maintenance.

The cabinet heard that, if the council failed to follow Government requirements, it could suffer ‘significant financial implications’. Every one per cent drop below the proposed increase results in a loss to the council of £676,000.