Government confirms five-year rent settlement for social housing sector

The Government has confirmed that social housing rents charged by councils and housing associations can rise by inflation plus one per cent for five years from 2020.

The announcement follows a formal consultation on the new rent standard. It also marks the end of the annual one per cent rent reductions, which have been in place since 2016. There was no provision for raising historically low social rents by higher rates. The Government has said it “acknowledges the concerns” of tenants about future rent rises. The proposal to allow annual rent increases was rejected by 87 per cent of tenants and tenant groups, who responded to the consultation. However, Ministers were under huge pressure to allow social landlords to raise more money for building much needed new low-cost homes, mainly for rent.

On the opposite side of the equation, they also wanted to limit increases in the welfare budget. Housing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “This Government is committed to ensuring social housing remains fit for the future, with homes that tenants can be proud of and shovels in the ground to build even more. “The new rent deal will ensure that housing associations and councils have the certainty they need to manage, maintain and build more social housing – providing tenants with high-quality homes and helping to restore the dream of homeownership for a new generation.”

By Patrick Mooney, Editor