Rent rise for council house tenants in South Kesteven

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Council house tenants are to see their rents rise by 5.13 per cent.

South Kesteven’s 6,095 council house tenants are set to see their rents rise by an average 5.13 per cent - which SKDC says is the second lowest increase for four years.

This is consistent with the government’s policy of moving towards ‘target rents’ which are aimed at ensuring that similar homes rented from councils and housing associations have comparable rents irrespective of landlord.

This means the average weekly rent in the district will be £78.13 from April. The lowest rent will be £52.24 and the highest will be £112.77. Garage rents and service charges are also set to go up by 3.2 per cent.

The planned increases have been shared and discussed with the Service Review Group of SKDC tenants.

Portfolio holder for good housing, Councillor Terl Bryant, said he was pleased that the increase had been kept low despite the council’s ambitious building and improvement programme.

He added: “A change in government policy on how council housing is financed has meant that we have been able to make a start on building new council homes for the first time in more than a decade.

“We are already on site in Grantham where nine homes are underway and in Stamford we are planning to build another 24 properties in a mix of one, two, three and four bedroomed styles – an investment of £3 million by March 2015.

“We very much want to continue this work in years to come and are reviewing the extent to which we will be able to build more homes and make the best use of our land and property assets to maximise the availability of affordable housing.”

A total of £4.9 million has been allocated to a large-scale upgrade which will take place over two years and will see 700 existing homes being better insulated to provide more affordable warmth for tenants.

Approximately 300 homes will have had external wall insulation fitted by March this year.

Coun Bryant added: “All of this work has meant that we have been able to employ four apprentices in our Property Services Repairs section which in turn supports our priorities to grow the economy and develop skills.”

Other projects have resulted in a new medium term housing strategy, an updated tenancy and allocations policy and a comprehensive review of asset management with the result that services continue to improve as the council makes the best use of its housing assets.

“Some 97 per cent of our homes already meet the Decent Homes Standard but over the next few years we want to do even better than this and improve our homes to a higher level which we will call the South Kesteven Standard.

“We will do this by carrying out regular appraisals to make sure our homes remain good places to live, are sustainable and meet local housing needs.

“Our efforts to improve affordable warmth will also see us focusing on improvements to homes which don’t have the benefit of a mains gas supply and we will continue to make our repairs and maintenance systems even better as we deliver more cost effective and responsive services.” said Coun Bryant.

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