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Council encourages tenants to have their say on rent proposals

Swindon Borough Council tenants will be given the chance to have their say on proposals to change the amount of rent they pay in 2021/22.

Published: Tuesday, 15th December 2020

The proposed change would see a 1.5 per cent increase in rent, in line with government guidance.

The consultation, which begins today (15 Dec) will be open for four weeks. Tenants will be asked to provide their feedback on the plans before 10 January 2021. Responses will be collated and taken to the Cabinet Member Advisory Group on 20 January, before the report is taken to the Council’s Cabinet in February.

The Council owns over 10,500 properties across the borough with over 13,500 tenants living in the homes. The Council maintains those buildings and the local areas, as well as providing a wide range of services which are funded through tenants’ rent.

The proposed increase in rent for the 2021/22 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 tenants.

Central Government sets guidance for local authorities on how they should set their rent and, following a national consultation Swindon residents were invited to contribute to, the Government has advised a rent increase up to 1.5 per cent based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) +1 per cent.

The proposed increase would see the average weekly rent rise from £81.33 to £82.55.

Tenants’ rent is used to deliver a wide range of services. Last year the Council spent £22.2m on repairs and improvement schemes including roof renewals, electrical upgrades, new bathrooms and kitchens, as well as fire safety improvement work.

Swindon Housing tenants also receive other services through their rent payments which include support setting up a tenant credit union, employment training and grant funding for environmental projects.

Councillor Cathy Martyn, Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety said: “A rent increase is not a decision we take lightly, especially when this year has been particularly hard for many, but this increase would make sure we can provide a good quality service to our tenants and would allow us to continue to invest in improvements to homes and communities.”

“We are asking all council tenants to share their views on our proposal to increase rent for the 2021/22 year, in line with government guidance at CPI +1 per cent which totals 1.5 per cent. Please let us know what you think either by coming along to our online sessions or by emailing us at getinvolved@swindon.gov.uk. Thank you.”

The Council will be holding a rent consultation presentation for tenants on Thursday (17 Dec) at 3pm through Microsoft Teams. If tenants would like to join the presentation they should email Housing at getinvolved@swindon.gov.uk by 12pm on Thursday (17 Dec) and the team will send a link and joining instructions. After the presentation there will be an opportunity to ask questions and speak to staff about the proposals.

The Council will be delivering letters to Sheltered Housing tenants throughout December along with pre-paid return envelopes so that residents can respond to the consultation in writing if they wish.

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