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Council opens consultation on rent setting for Council tenants

Swindon Borough Council has opened a consultation into its proposals for a change in rent for council housing tenants.

Published: Monday, 23rd December 2019

The proposed change would see a 2.7% increase in rent in line with Government guidance.

The consultation, which opened last Friday (20 December) is open for six weeks with tenants being asked to provide feedback on the Council plans before 31 January 2020.

The Council owns over 10,300 households across the borough with over 14,000 tenants living in the properties. The Council maintains those buildings and the local areas, as well as providing a wide range of services, using funds collected through tenants rent.

Over the past four years the Council has followed a mandate laid down by Central Government and reduced rent by one per cent each year. Unfortunately, this has happened alongside the price of materials to repair, maintain and upgrade houses increasing, cost saving pressures within the Council and inflation.

The proposed increase in rent for the 2020/21 period would see the service continue to be maintained at its current level, with the additional funds invested in ongoing maintenance programmes and delivering services for residents.

Central Government sets guidance for local authorities on how they should set their rent, and following a national consultation, that Swindon residents were invited to contribute to, Government have advised a rent increase up to 2.7%.

The proposed increase would see the average weekly rent increase from £78.60 to £80.72. This is 20% lower than average private rental property in Swindon sitting at £100 per week per room according to Government statistics.

Last year tenant’s rents were used to deliver a wide range of services. The Council runs an extensive maintenance programme and last year spent £11.3m on 34,000 day to day repairs, and £8.1m in planned maintenance and improvement schemes including roof renewals, electrical upgrades, new bathrooms and kitchens and fire safety improvements to flats.

Swindon Housing tenants also receive other services through their rent payments which last year included the popular Young Warden’s scheme, support setting up a tenant credit union, employment training and grant funding for environmental projects.

Cllr Cathy Martyn, Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety said; ‘We have reduced rent to our tenants over the past four years in line with what the Government recommend and this year we are proposing an increase, again sticking to that guidance.

‘I would welcome feedback from our tenants before we make any decisions and would urge them to take part in the consultation. I understand any rent increase is not a decision to be taken lightly but this increase would make sure we can provide a good quality service for our residents and would allow us to continue to invest in improvements to your households and our communities’.

‘We are currently in the middle of an extensive improvement programme as part of our continued ambition to provide the best service to tenants and this will also provide community benefits including anything that might reduce crime, vandalism or anti-social behaviour, improved green space and better lighting and signage. I hope this work will allow us to continue to improve your homes and our town’

Tenants can take part in the consultation by visiting the Council website.

There will also be a range of engagement events for tenants at local community cafes during the consultation period where they can speak to staff about proposals. Please note they will be closed over Christmas week and New Year week.

  • Central Community Centre, Railway Village – Mondays 10:00 a.m. – 12.00 noon
  • John Moulton Hall, Penhill – Tuesdays 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Meadowcroft Community Centre, Stratton – Wednesdays 1:00p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Toothill Community Centre, every 2 weeks on a Friday – 1:00 p.m. – 2.30 p.m.  (10th and 24th January)

The Council will also be hosting a presentation to talk through the proposals in detail:

  • Civic Offices, Wednesday 15 January – Session 1 4pm – 5pm, Session 2 6pm – 7pm

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