New social rent policy balances tenant affordability with ambitions to build more homes – Julie James
The Welsh Government has announced a new five year rent policy for social housing tenants in Wales, which will help keep rents affordable while allowing social landlords to build more affordable homes across the country.
Under the five year rent policy being announced today, which will to come into effect from April 2020:
- social rents can be uplifted by a maximum of the Consumer Price Index +1% for five years as long as CPI stays within a prescribed range
- landlords will retain responsibility for setting their rents within the boundaries of Welsh Government rent policy. In response to requests from social landlords for more flexibility, individual tenants’ rent could increase by CPI+1% plus up to £2, on condition that other rents are either frozen or reduced and that the landlord’s overall increase for all their stock is no greater than CPI+1%
- social landlords are expected to have their own rent and service charge policies and make their own decisions on how rents are increased each year. As part of this, social landlords are expected to work with their tenants to identify what factors should be included when assessing affordability
Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James said:
It’s important to balance the need for tenants to be able to afford their rent, and ensuring social landlords have the rental income certainty they need to build more social housing. I have taken a variety of factors into account and considered carefully the findings of a number of independent reports in making this decision.
We know the quality of people’s homes has a very real impact on their health, well-being and quality of life. Together with Welsh social landlords, we have ambitious plans to build much more social housing in Wales. This rent deal balances that ambition against the need to make sure ordinary people can afford to pay their rent.
The Welsh Government is taking a range of actions to increase the supply of affordable housing in Wales, including:
- allowing ambitious local authorities to access housing grant to build more council houses at pace and scale
- ensure local planning authorities are taking all opportunities to create housing developments with at least 50% affordable housing in Wales
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