Some council tenants in Croydon will face a rent increase of almost £50 per month from April, if a planned 7per cent rent hike is approved by the borough’s Conservative Mayor later this month.
The rent increases come as the cash-strapped council struggles to reconcile the soaring costs of maintaining and repairing its housing stock, following the scandal of damp, mould and leaks in flats in Regina Road, South Norwood.
The 7per cent figure has been described by some tenant representatives as “outrageous”, although it is less than the inflation-matching 11per cent which Mayor Jason Perry was considering in the autumn.
With a 7per cent rent rise, the monthly cost of a two-bedroom council home will increase by £28. For the largest council homes, the monthly rent rise will be around £48. The 7per cent increase will also apply to service charges.
The increased rents were discussed at a tenant and leaseholder panel meeting held just before Christmas.
Susmita Sen, the council’s director of housing, said, “We are extremely mindful of the cost of living crisis and those pressures are feeding through into our own costs. The utilities, the fuel bills have gone sky-high.
“We are having to put the rent up to accommodate those rising costs. Our homes require maintenance, not only fire and building safety but you are all aware of the issues around damp and mould and you’re all aware of Regina Road.
“We are not spending enough on improving or maintaining our homes. When we look at the 7per cent figure, it will be to ensure we invest in the maintenance of those homes.”
Tenant representatives estimate that around one-third of Croydon’s council tenants do not quality for housing benefit. Sen told the meeting that the council will try to assist those tenants to see what support they may qualify for.
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