RENT for council housing in Rugby is set to rise by around £4.30 a week – but many homes will become cheaper to run and warmer in winter as part of plans to improve their energy efficiency.
Rugby Borough Council (RBC) has approved plans to raise council rent in line with the Government’s recommended increase of 4.1 per cent – one per cent above the rate of inflation – bringing the average weekly bill to £90.92.
The council will install cavity wall and loft insulation in 95 properties, and bring air source heat pumps and solar energy to around 90 properties.
Additionally, 145 properties will receive new bathrooms and 190 will get upgraded kitchens.
An RBC spokesman said the newly-agreed Housing Revenue Account budget took account of the loss of council properties at Biart Place, where two tower blocks have been dismantled, and at Rounds Gardens, where the majority of tenants have now been rehomed ready for the three tower blocks to be taken down.
Rising utility and housing costs were also cited as factors in the rent rise.
The spokesman said the council’s rents were the lowest in the borough, with a one-bed apartment in the private rental sector costing £52 more per week than the equivalent council property.
He added: “Currently, 64 per cent of council tenants receive help with paying their rent through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, and the support these tenants receive will be adjusted to take account of changes to their rent and eligible service charges.”
RBC’s communities and homes spokeswoman Coun Emma Crane said the council would continue to invest in its properties.
She said: “Investing in insulation and other energy efficiency improvements will mean our tenants will be better able to keep warm and well while also helping us meet our climate change objectives, which is a top priority for the future.
“We continue to do all that we can to keep the cost of these improvements down, and with an average weekly rent of £90.92, Rugby Borough Council rents remain significantly less than equivalent properties available from other landlords.
“We will continue to work closely with tenants to help with budgeting and access to additional support where needed.”