ANGLESEY county council has agreed to increase social housing rent levels by 6.7 percent and put up service charges.
But the island authority claims that the majority of tenants would face “no additional hardship” amid the rise planned for 2024/25.
This was due to tenants receiving or being eligible for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, it said.
For those who did ‘self-pay’ and found themselves in “financial hardship” a new support scheme was agreed and other council help available.
The authority’s executive committee approved recommendations and reasons for the increase during its meeting today (Tuesday, December 12).
It was discussing the Housing Rent HRA and Housing Service Charges 2024/25. Applying the 6.7% increase would mean rises of between £5.12 per week and £9.26 per week for all tenants.
Around 1609 would face increases of between £5.12 – £6.99, 2336 between £7.00 – £8.99, and 10 from between £9.00 – £9.26 the report noted.
There were approximately 1092 tenants not receiving any help towards their rent, and 378 would face increases of between £5.12 – £6.99, whilst 712 between £7.00 – £8.99 and two £9.00 – £9.26.
Applying the increase of 6.7% over 52 weeks, taking into account the rent free week over the Christmas period, would generate an annual rental income of £22.9m – an additional rent of £1.85m.
Cllr Gary Pritchard presented a report to the committee and proposed it approved the changes for 2024/25.
During the meeting head of housing Ned Michael described how “an affordability assessment” had been carried out, with 779 questionnaires being returned. Some 82 percent of tenants felt their rent “was affordable whilst 18 percent had disagreed” he said – the majority of respondents had been ‘self funders’ he said.
He also told the meeting that the Welsh Government did not want the authority “to evict anyone struggling with rent arrears.”
Help was being put in place for anyone suffering serious hardship and they could also contact the council’s financial inclusion team, he said.
There were already established ways the council could help anyone people “suffering any kind of financial difficulties,” he added.
Cllr Robin Williams said “When you consider three quarters of the people in our council houses are not going to feel any detrimental effect by this, I am happy to proceed.”
Cllr Pritchard added “But it is important that any self-funders out there are aware of rental assistance programmes that are available.
Cllr Nicola Roberts added the “self payers were the people we are most concerned about at the moment”.
Cllr Williams also wanted to make people aware of the council tax reduction scheme, and there was council help available for anyone “truly suffering hardship”.