Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:41

Rent deal will 'boost social housing'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rent deal will 'boost social housing'

LINKING rent increases to inflation will help boost affordable house-building, claims the government.

The deal will give a decade of strong protection for social tenants with the cost of living, said housing minister Kris Hopkins.

It would also give greater stability for landlords, who would be able to use the certainty to predict their likely revenues and invest in new homes.

The proposals would come into effect from April 2015, offering a fair deal for tenants and landlords alike, said Mr Hopkins.

For tenants, annual rent increases would be linked to inflation - using the more stable Consumer Price Index as a measure rather than the Retail Price Index as has been used in previous years.

In turn, it would give councils and housing associations the stability needed to plan investment in new homes in their area - supporting a £23bn public and private investment in affordable homes planned from 2015.

This would also help towards achieving the fastest rate of affordable housebuilding for two decades.

But ministers also wanted to ensure landlords had the powers needed to charge tenants on higher incomes a rent closer to the market rate.

From 2015, these limits on social rent levels would be lifted for instances where tenants earn at least £60,000.

When possible, new rules would be introduced requiring those social tenants earning above this threshold to declare their income to their landlords.

Mr 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."

This and the £23bn of public and private investment planned in the three years after 2015, meant the government was on track to deliver the fastest rate of affordable housebuilding for two decades.

The deadline for the consultation, Rents for social housing from 2015 to 2016, is 24 December 2013.

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