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Further questions to be heard on £380k council rent loss

Pembrokeshire County Council, Haverfordwest

FURTHER questions are to be heard on what has been done since Pembrokeshire County Council lost £380,000 in revenue when a council tenants’ rent rise was not correctly publicised.

Tenants have a statutory two-month period of notice before any rent rises, which were due to take place from April 1, can come into effect.

However, statutory rent increase notices were only delivered to tenants in late March, delaying the time of rent increases to July 1.

Questions on the rent rise not being publicised in time were received at the May meeting of full council, from Councillor Aled Thomas, Councillor Mark Carter, and Councillor Delme Harries.

Responding, Cabinet Member for Housing Operations & Regulatory Services Cllr Michelle Bateman said the council had lost some £380,000 and an investigation was currently being undertaken with the council’s print and postage supplier.

Cllr Michelle Bateman is to join Pembrokeshire County Council’s cabinet

Members heard the council only became aware of the issue after being contacted by council tenants, taking remedial action to reissue notices, the meeting heard.

Members were told rent increases would now take place every July due to the error.

Calls for an update on the rents loss will now be heard at the October 12 meeting of the county council.

Councillor Mark Carter, in a submitted question, will ask: “The cabinet member made an undertaking to provide an update on the recovery of this sum [the £380,000] at a future date.

“Given how important it is to recover this money, please will the cabinet member now provide that update to council?”

Cllr Mark Carter (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

A question on the same subject has also been submitted by Councillor Jacob Williams, who will also ask for an update.

His question calls for answers to three points.

The value of the financial loss to the council, to date, as a result of the late delivery of the letters.

What has been done to assess the liability for “this costly error”.

What has been done to assess the prospect of recouping any financial losses.

Councillor Jacob Williams (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

Members will receive responses to both submitted questions at the October 12 meeting.