7 thoughts on “Rent hikes will squeeze council tenants until they squeak

  1. Pingback: Pity the poor tenant who is now getting poorer « A Burdz Eye View

  2. They didn’t put a common maintenance provision in the sales? FFS. I weep at their brainlessness.

  3. Its not so much the rent hike that worries me its the lack of maintenance to properties. This has been cut drastically. Okay the are having to bring properties up to standard by 2015 and that is a slow process. Flats in particular are a problem in that if you live in a block of 6 and 3 are now owner occupied the council will no longer maintain the outside i.e. roof, guttering, common close areas and these are left to fall into disrepair. The right to buy flats at 70% discount was a big mistake. If owner occupiers refuse to pay for repairs nothing gets done. Rents have to rise but as the cuts come the rises are going to get steeper with the the bare minimum being done in respect of repair and upkeep.

    • Sadly, many councils are raising rents and cutting back on repairs and maintenance. A double whammy!

      You are right to point out the difficulties experienced in shared blocks with owner occupiers – on so many levels RTB was a failure. But actually this was the failure of councils who when selling these flats forgot to include clauses re factoring or essential repairs in the dispositions ie they have no right to impose repairs or demand upkeep fees, as so many other principals have when they sell houses.

      And as usual, it’s tenants that suffer

  4. A very well thought out post. The HRA is not something which captures the imagination of politicians – and it should. Angus has raised its rents by RPI + 0.2% (4.8%) – which was the highest of the three options on the ballot paper sent to tenants. However, only 9.8% replied. Perhaps these papers should only be sent out to tenants who pay some or all of their rent themselves?

    Interestingly the figures provided suggest a zero increase in rents would produce a deficit of £940k on the HRA for the year – http://www.angus.gov.uk/ccmeetings/reports-committee2011/NeighbourhoodServices/113App2.pdf but that wasnt one of the options on the ballot paper – and there is no indication of costs being reduced to cope with a lower than expected income – or of increasing recenue by, say, letting vacant properties better, or improving the level of bad debt.

    The level of debt interest is just under 7% of income – and paying off some of the principal will obviously help with reducing that in future years. The interesting thing is that the HRA would still be in surplus with no rent increase, due to a surplus the previous year.

    • Thanks for the praise! Appreciated.

      Low levels of consultation response are everywhere which suggest councils should improve their methods and caution reliance on the findings with such low levels of return.

      Councils appear to take the lazy option – you rarely see significant reductions in management costs or improved costs in terms of letting vacant properties more quickly or as you also point out, plans to reduce the level of bad debt.

      The other thing which I didn’t mention was the use of reserves – what are they if not for a rainy day which surely is here or about to come? Stockpiling huge amounts of cash while raising even more by charging tenants through the nose is immoral. Worst of all is the transfer of HRA reserves into the General Fund, which many councils do.
      And if Angus and others could achieve a break even HRA without increasing rent, it begs the question why did they do it this year of all years, and why did no councillors challenge them?

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