Ashfield Council says it needs to increase rent on its council homes. to deliver improvements to properties across the district.
From April this year, residents will pay £78.93 per week over a 48-week basis – a £3.11 increase on 2021/22.
The increase falls in line with the Government’s policy for rental rises in the upcoming year, with councils allowed to increase rents by a maximum of 4.1 per cent.
Ashfield’s planned rise comes after a survey of tenants found more than two-thirds of people living in the council’s properties supported a rent increase to improve their standard of living.
Improvements will focus on roofs, windows, heating, cleaning and security.
Coun Jason Zadrozny, council leader, said the authority has been ‘honest’ with residents about the need to raise fees.
He said council rents have had a 1 per cent reduction year-on-year, leaving the authority’s housing and revenue account in a ‘precarious position’ – Lee Anderson, Ashfield MP, this week claimed the council’s finances were in a ‘disastrous mess’.
Council documents state about 72 per cent of tenants receive help with their rent and will ‘not be subject to paying the full increase themselves’.
Coun Zadrozny said, if the authority wants to address concerns raised by residents, the council ‘has to do this’.
He said: “Residents want us to invest more into it, they want new roofs, windows, better heating, better cleaning regimes in all the courts.
“We’ve been honest it will mean an increase in their rent and I think about 68 per cent of them agreed with it when the consultation came back.
“The majority of our tenants don’t pay anyway, it either comes from pensionable income, or housing benefits, so it won’t actually affect them.
“Soon we will have built 100 new council homes and implemented better security on the courts and regular cleaning regimes.
“But if we want to make our properties nicer, the council has to do this.”
The authority is also expected to increase rental fees for council-owned garages across the district.
Documents state occupancy rates for garages has remained ‘constant’ over the past 12 months, with little demand for garages currently sitting empty but high demand for those already occupied.
The council is proposing a separate 4.1 per cent increase for the garages, which it expects will generate £10,000 on the currently-occupied sites.
And communal heating charges in council properties are also set for a 5 per cent rise from April this year.
The authority’s cabinet is expected to approve the increases when it meets on Tuesday, January 25.
The move comes after Coun Zadrozny, in his role as leader of the Independent Alliance on Nottinghamshire Council, urged that authority’s ruling Conservative administration to keep any Council Tax rise to a minimum due to the increasing cost of living.
He said: “Literally everything is going up, from energy prices going through the roof, food prices rocketing and fuel prices pricing poorer residents off the road. We urge the Conservatives who run the council to do their bit to help residents.”