City of Wolverhampton Council housing tenants are set to benefit from a proposed new Housing Revenue Account (HRA) business plan.

The announcement comes following the council's annual consultation with its tenants on rent levels for the forthcoming financial year.

The Government announced in July all social landlords, including councils and housing associations, will need to reduce each tenant's rent by 1% each year for the next 4 years, which will take effect from 4 April, 2016.

The council's long term housing strategy for maintenance and building was based on rents going up year on year, therefore it produced a list of options to help make up a the shortfall.

The 4 key areas where the shortfall will be made up are a remodelling of the HRA 30 year business plan with different assumptions on inflation for building costs, interest and housing stock numbers; a review of the capital programme, a review of the allowances paid to Wolverhampton Homes and the 4 tenant management organisations; and raising service charges paid by tenants.

After listening to the views of tenants during the consultation period the council intends to reduce service charges for electric heating by £1 per week while increasing the gas heating service charge by 50p per week. Most other service charges will remain the same except the concierge service, which will rise by 1%. Garage rents will also see an increase of 1%.

There were concerns about the introduction of "affordable" rents for new tenants and the council is looking into this further before making a decision. Existing tenants will remain on "social" rents.

Councillor Peter Bilson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Assets, added: "There is a difficult balance to be struck in deciding the levels at which rents and services charges are set and the income required to maintain and to improve services and properties.

"This is based upon a 30 year forecast which sets out indicative levels of future rental income and forecast changes to expenditure levels.

"The council has always operated a very open and consultative approach to service and rent reviews. Events, newsletters and social media have been utilised to engage with tenants."

The proposals will be discussed at Cabinet next Wednesday (13 January) before going forward to Full Council.

To view the full report please read the Type=links;Linkid=6760;Title=Cabinet Meeting 13 January 2016;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Wednesday 6 January, 2016