City of Wolverhampton Council is now conducting its annual consultation with its housing 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. So if weekly rent is £85.00 now, it will be £84.15 from April 2016 and £81.65 by 2020.

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

Councillor Peter Bilson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Assets, said: "The whole country is facing a huge demand for housing and Wolverhampton is no different.

"The revenue we get from rents is fundamental to helping meet this demand and maintaining our current housing stock.

"I would urge as many tenants as possible to get involved in the consultation process so together we can find the best way forward."

Public meetings for tenants will take place in Committee Rooms 1 and 2, on the Civic Centre third floor, at 2.30pm and 6.30pm on Wednesday 2 December. People attending the 6.30pm meeting should use the civic centre's rear entrance.

If you cannot make it to the meetings, views can be sent electronically via the Wolverhampton Homes website - Type=links;Linkid=6664;Title=Rent Review 2016;Target=_blank;.

The deadline for comments is Friday 11 December and the council will decide on 13 January, 2016 which options to introduce.

The options include:

Planned maintenance - reviewing the programme of work to ensure the council maintains the condition of the housing stock in line with the decent homes scheme.

Management Allowances - reviewing the management allowances paid to Wolverhampton Homes and the 4 tenant management organisations that look after the council's housing tenants to see if savings can be made there.

Affordable rents - the council can change the rent charged on a property when it is re-let to a new tenant from "social rent" to "affordable rent". Affordable rents are currently about £15 more per week than social rents. This means that there is more money available for the future.

Service charges - for the last few years the council has been putting up service charges so that only the people using the service, pay for it. Central heating is charged at £2 per week which covers about 50% of the cost of servicing, repairing and replacing central heating systems. The council is proposing to increase this by £2 per week to cover the full cost of the service. This can be done either by increasing the service charge by:

  • £2 in April 2016 or
  • £1 in 2016 and £1 in 2018; or
  • 50p per week each year for the next 4 years

Other charges - fencing, sheltered schemes and digital TV charges will not change. District heating charges will not go up in April but the council is moving away from a standard charge to charging each tenant for what they use. Garage rents and hostel charges will go up by 1%.  Concierge charges will go up by 1%, unless you live in a block that does not yet pay for the full service. In these blocks it will go up from £6 per week to £8.

  • released: Monday 9 November, 2015