Rent increases: a difficult decision
Mathew Walker, Chair of PlaceShapers, talks of the difficult decision made by members and of how members are supporting their residents.
“We know this rent increase comes at a challenging time for many people, with prices rising in many other areas too.
“This has not been an easy decision for members. Members want to keep rents as affordable as possible as possible but must balance this with the rising costs of maintaining homes, building safety, net zero targets, building new affordable homes and other essential services, such as employment and support.
“Any decision to increase rent is taken only after careful consideration at Board level. This involves direct input from residents, often as Board members. Boards are also aware that any decision not to increase rent in line with the Government rent setting policy results in an irrecoverable loss of rental income in future years.
“As not-for-profit organisations, all rent is invested in homes and services. Without the increase, many members would have to scale back on building affordable homes which will impact on housing supply for future generations.
“Our members work closely with residents experiencing financial difficulties. As a result of insight and close relationships, this can often be targetted at residents who may be in difficulty.
"Many members have set up hardship funds in addition to long standing money advice services. They are also well linked into other sources of help to make sure residents are accessing all the financial support available to them.
"One of the biggest concerns is rising energy bills. We are using our journey to net zero to make homes more energy efficient and lower fuel bills and are active partners in sectors responses like HACT's Energy Hardship Fund. However we hope Government will support those hardest hit by bills that could increase by as much as 40%."
Residents receiving Universal Credit, often as an in-work benefit, will not be directly affected as payments should increase in line with the new rent levels subject to the prevailing local housing allowance rate.
If any resident is experiencing difficulties or is worried, we encourage them to contact their landlord who will want to help.