Portfolio Holder: Cabinet
Member (Outward), Councillor John Wilmott
that an average rent decrease of 1% for all council
house rents be set for 2019/20.
that an average rent increase for garages, at the
level of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) be set for
that the amenity charge be increased by 61p a week
that the charges for communal heating be increased
by 3% for 2019/20.
that the water charges at Brook Street Court be
increased by 4% for 2019/20.
REASON FOR DECISIONS
To set a 1% rent decrease as detailed in Section 23
– 33 of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.
To set an increase of CPI only on garage rents to
continue covering the increasing costs of maintenance and rental
collection for the Council garage sites, consistent with the
approach in previous years.
To increase the amenity charge to recover the near
full costs of providing the services which do not fall within the
provision of the rent charge.
To set an increase to the communal heating service
charges. This is to cover the increase in prices from the utility
company to the Council for providing the communal heating in the
applicable housing court schemes.
To set an increase to the service charge for water
at Brook Street Court to cover the increase in prices from the
utility company to the Council for providing water at Brook Street
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED AND REASONS FOR
There are no other options with regards to rent
setting, to not set the rents as per the prescribed reduction would
be contrary to legislation.
The garage rent option considered was for a lower
percentage but this would have a detrimental effect on the HRA and
not cover the inflationary increase in costs incurred in
To not increase the amenity charge to the proposed
level would mean that the service would continue to not have full
cost recovery of the additional services provided and this would
adversely impact the HRA balances.
The increase in the communal heating service charge
is calculated to cover the costs of providing the heating to the
housing court schemes. To not increase the service charge would
mean the costs are inappropriately subsidised by the HRA i.e. the
other rent payers.
The increase in the water service charge to Brook
Street Court is calculated to cover the costs only of providing the
water to the Brook Street Court tenants. This follows strict
guidance from OFWAT and no other option is available.
The Corporate Finance Manager
submitted a report seeking approval for the proposed rent level and
other council accommodation related charges for council tenants for
the financial year 2019/20.
Since April 2016, the Welfare
Reform and Work Act 2016 had required social housing rents to be
reduced by 1% a year for 4 years from a frozen 2015/16 base line,
for both social rents and affordable rents, with 2019/20 being the
fourth year of the reduction. It was noted that this reduction had
over the period resulted in a loss of £8million to the
Housing Revenue Account for the Council. The Leader noted that
while other charges were increasing, these increases would be
offset by the rent decrease which would mean that residents would
not be financially disadvantaged by the increased charges. It was
also noted that charges made by the Council, including garage rents
and the amenity charge did not cover the full costs incurred in
providing these services and that full cost recovery on these
services was not made in order to protect the welfare of residents
as far was possible.