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Social housing rent rises to be capped lower than inflation for Nottinghamshire tenants

Social housing rents across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire will not rise as much as soaring inflation rates next year.

The Government has run a consultation on increasing rent fees by a maximum threshold of five per cent – less than half the current 10.1 per cent inflation rate.

Rent increases of three and seven per cent had also been discussed.

The results of the consultation, which closed last month, will impact the budgets of all councils in England when setting rent charges for social housing.

Ministers set the ceiling for local authorities in how much they can raise rents and, in usual years, fees would increase by the consumer price index (CPI) plus an additional one per cent.

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However, if bills increased by the current 40-year high inflation rate, tenants’ bills increase by as much as 11.1 per cent from April next year.

But the consultation confirms rents will not increase by the current inflation rate while some councils have already begun budgeting for the five per cent cap.

Mansfield District Council – the first Nottinghamshire authority to begin setting out budget papers – has reflected this in its 2023/24 planning.

Documents show this would bring an additional £874,000 into the authority’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA), with £26.489m forecasted in rental income from the authority’s HRA stock.

Last year, a 4.1 per cent rental increase was approved by the council alongside most other district and borough authorities in Nottinghamshire.

It left some Mansfield social home tenants paying an extra £224.64 per year in rent, with residents on 48-week contracts paying between £2.46 and £4.68 more per week.

The average social rent was taken to £84.21 per week in Mansfield through last year’s rise, with the proposed five per cent increase this year potentially taking the average up to £88.42.

This would be an average weekly rise of £4.21 or £202.104 over the 48-week contract.

However, when approving last year’s rise, the council said many social housing tenants receive support through either housing benefits or Universal Credit and would not feel the full effects of the increase.

The authority also offers specialist financial support for residents struggling with their bills during the cost of living crisis.

The rental increases were discussed during the Labour-run authority’s corporate resources scrutiny committee on Tuesday (November 1).

Emma Frith, the council’s financial services manager, told councillors: “The budget is five per cent for rental increases for social housing tenants.

“This is because of a consultation by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) regarding social housing rent increases.

“The usual thing that would happen is rent would increase by [the consumer price index] plus one, based on the September of that year, but that at the minute is 10.1 per cent.

“Based on the consultation, there’s going to be a rent ceiling of five per cent, however, the consultation did also seek views on ceilings of three and seven per cent.”

The Government has been contacted for a comment on the outcome of the consultation.

Further details on council budgets are expected to be revealed during Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement on November 17.

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