Council house rent in Rugby to rise by £390 a year on average - The Rugby Observer

Council house rent in Rugby to rise by £390 a year on average

Rugby Editorial 8th Feb, 2024   0

RENT for council tenants in Rugby will rise by an average of nearly £390 a year from April.

Rugby Borough Council (RBC) green-lit the 7.7 per cent hike – taking rent for a three-bed council house to £115.81 per week – when councillors approved housing budgets on Tuesday (February 6).

The council said the increase would allow continued investment in its housing stock – including new kitchens and bathrooms, boiler upgrades and accessibility adaptations – and secure its future maintenance and repair.

Last year – after the council put up rent by 4.1 per cent, or £223 a year for a three-bed house – 145 bathrooms were replaced, 300 new kitchens were provided, and 60 boilers were upgraded, while 44 properties had adaptations such as level access showers, ramps and stairlifts.

A Labour amendment which was accepted by all parties aims to ensure extra help and support for tenants who are struggling. Around two thirds of council tenants currently receive help with their rent in the form of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.

Coun Tim Willis, the council’s spokesman for communities and homes, said: “Our focus is on making sure that our tenants have low-cost, high-quality homes that they can afford to heat.

“The budget we have set takes into account the need to continue investing in our stock while making sure our tenants are able to afford their rent.”

Coun Ish Mistry, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group on RBC, said: “We reluctantly agreed with the council’s leadership on a 7.7 per cent increasing in rent, having taken advice from the Chief Financial Officer on the consequences of approving a lower increase.

“Our priority has always been with those people who will be most badly affected, vulnerable people and people with the greatest financial need.

“That’s why our amendment will see the council investigate how best to support people who are most in need, and help particularly those not receiving Universal Credit. We will seek regular updates about any measures that are taken.

“It’s vital that we do all we can to help people through the cost-of-living crisis.”

Coun Jerry Roodhouse, Leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat Group, said: “Agreeing the rent levels will allow the council to continue investing in its housing stock.

“I welcome the cross-party agreement on providing extra support and advice for vulnerable tenants.”

Stock condition surveys will help the council prioritise investment in safe, warm homes, and the council says it will pay particular attention to how it manages voids – the time between one tenant moving out and another moving in, which often requires extensive refurbishment or repairs.

Councillors at the meeting heard that good progress was being made at the former Biart Place site, where 100 new energy-efficient council homes are being built, and the deconstruction of the Rounds Gardens site was almost complete.

Property acquisitions exceeded sales through Right to Buy by 24 in 2023/24, and 112 properties in Rokeby and Long Lawford are receiving external wall insulation through the Decarbonisation Fund.

Council rent will remain the lowest in the borough, with rent for a three-bed council house rising to £6,022 per year – compared to £6,162 in a housing association property or £14,225 in the private rented sector.


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