CONSULTATION: Social housing rents 2015 / 2016

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is consulting on proposals to change the way in which social housing rents are determined from April 2015 onwards. The consultation also covers proposed changes to the guidance issued by Government to the social housing regulator. The consultation is open until Tuesday 24 December 2013.

The proposed changes to social rent policy stem from announcements made as part of the 2013 Budget and 2013 Spending Round. The main changes are:

Capping social rent increases to 1 percentage point above inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (previously the cap was 0.5 percentage points above inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index)

Compensating for this increase in the rent cap, which could lead to higher rents, by removing the current flexibility that some landlords have in certain circumstances to increase weekly rents by up to £2 more than the cap would otherwise permit.

To remove social rent controls from any social housing tenant household with an income of over £60,000 per year.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said, "Today’s proposals offer a fair deal on rents for tenants, helping with their cost of living and ensuring those who can afford to pay more do and those on lower incomes know what to expect. But it also offers the certainty and stability councils and housing associations need too, to plan ahead and invest their revenues to build more affordable homes in their area."

However, critics have pointed out that the changes could mean many social tenants seeing their rents increase faster than under the previous policy, at a time when cuts in Housing Benefit and other areas of spending, and the ongoing economic difficulties, are putting increasing pressure on living standards.

The consultation documents and details of how to have your say can be found on the DCLG Consultation website.