Housing cabinet member proposes rent freeze for tenants

By on 07/02/2012 in News

Birmingham City Council is proposing a rent freeze to be implemented under new reforms to take place in April this year which will see rent for October 2012 frozen at October 2011 levels. 

The recommended freeze on rent for October 2012 – the period when changes to tenants' rent come into effect – will also include a freeze on service charges for the second consecutive year.  This includes concierge, caretaking and cleaning that are provided to tenants. 

All councils across the country will have the flexibility to set their rents from April 2012 as part of the finance reforms that are being introduced by the government.

Cllr John Lines, Birmingham City Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The council has previously increased rents in line with the national rent policy.  And after many years of national lobbying together with the support of tenants, I am pleased that a new self financing framework will be introduced in April 2012 to allow more local discretion in setting rents.

“In light of consultation with tenants following the last rent increase and the difficult budgets faced by many of our tenants, together with the fiscal discipline demonstrated by officers and Housing Liaison Board members, I am proposing a rent freeze from October 2012 to the April commencement date  in 2013.

“The approach that I have taken in Birmingham is quite different to other local authorities where tenants will be seeing a significant increase in rents.”

The recommendation has taken a long-term view and will ensure that the future for council housing is sustainable and affordable in line with the new self-financing framework. 

Cllr Lines continued: “I will ensure that tenants are provided with as much support as they require with paying their rent including continuing the rent payment holidays in December and March each year, and will ensure that the vast majority of tenants who qualify for housing benefit are helped to claim their full entitlement.

“I believe that the rents charged to tenants represent excellent value for money in comparison to charges by other social housing providers, and I'm committed to increasing the quality of services for the people of Birmingham.”

Ends

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