City increases rents in line with government guidelines

Winchester City Council's Cabinet has agreed an average Housing rent increase of 3.98%, with effect from April 1st, 2004. The increase is in line with government guidelines and reflects inflation at 2.59% and additional costs to the housing service, as well as the third year of rent restructuring.

Tenant representatives from TACT, the Council’s district-wide tenant consultative committee, who were consulted throughout the process, reluctantly accepted the increase which, following last year’s below inflation increase, had left balances in the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) at a minimum level.

Increased costs to be met from rents in the coming year will include the provision of Community Wardens to work on key housing estates who will address anti-social behaviour, environmental improvements, community safety and development; an increased demand for disabled adaptations and the cost of administering the Supporting People regime.

The 3.98% increase represents an average rise of £2.95 per week for a three bedroom property. Cabinet also agreed a 2.5% increase for garage rents and service charges.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Sheila Campbell said, "We do understand the reservations expressed by TACT. Rent restructuring will continue to be an increasing burden on tenants on fixed pensions and, because we live in the affluent south where property values are high, the values used by government to set the rent formula mean that tenants living in the Winchester district pay higher rents."

"We also have a very important consultation exercise to fund in the coming year, as the Government requires us to plan for the future and make sure that all our homes meet the Decent Homes Standard by 2010."

For further information contact Richard Botham on 01962 848421.