Council house rents in Hackney may increase by seven percent from April, the council has warned.
The proposed increase in rent is due to higher costs for the council as the prices of construction, repairs and maintenance have risen because of inflation. The rise would take the average council house rent from £107.59 per week to £115.12 with an increase also proposed for some service charges.
Hackney Council said: “Our rents would remain among the lowest in London. We can continue to invest in our homes and deliver the services our residents need over the coming year as well as tackling issues like damp and mould.”
The proposal came as many adults were struggling to keep up with rent payments during the cost-of-living crisis. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that 3 in 10 adults paying either a mortgage or rent found it difficult to afford these payments.
A council resident who wished to remain anonymous told ELL: “There are options for someone like myself, I can take a lodger for a few months and that will offset any budget increases. It’s not nice living in one room for a few months, but it pays the bills. I say I’m lucky having a council flat and count my blessings.”
The increase in rent remains below current levels of inflation, with the latest measure of inflation at 10.5% in December 2022, according to the latest figures from the ONS.
The changes are not yet set in place, however, and councillors will discuss the matter in the coming months. The council said they will take residents comments into account when forming their decision.
Any increases to council house rent cannot exceed seven percent after a decision made in November last year capped rent increases for social housing. The rent cap is enforceable between April 2023 and March 2024. Previously, social housing rent was permitted to be increased one percentage point above inflation per year.
Local government association, London Councils, said of the rent cap: “With the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increasing by 9.6 per cent in the year to October 2021, and Bank of England forecasts showing CPI is expected to remain high throughout 2023, next year’s rent ceiling represents a real-terms reduction in income for local authority.”
The council have asked that any tenants concerned about the proposed increases write to them by 17 February.