Wolverhampton tenants face rent rise of more than three per cent

Thousands of council tenants in Wolverhampton are set to be hit with a rent increase of 3.3 per cent, just 12 months after they were slapped with a 6.6 per cent rise.

Wolverhampton tenants face rent rise of more than three per cent

The increase, which will be rubber-stamped by Wolverhampton City Council on Wednesday, is above the figure of 2.2 per cent recommended by the Government.

The move will see average weekly rents across the city rise to £83.78, bringing £93.7 million into council coffers in 2015/16.

Garage rents will increase by the same amount. Council bosses say the additional revenue from the rent increases will be used to fund £2 billion of capital works to council houses over the next 30 years.

Under Government guidelines all rent revenues must be re-invested in the council's housing estate, which has to be self-financing.

The increase is higher than in other areas of the Black Country, with rents in Sandwell going up by one per cent.

The increase follows a consultation with tenants' representatives, during which the board of Wolverhampton Homes, which manages more than 23,000 homes across the city on behalf of the council, expressed concerns about the cost of living increases for tenants and leaseholders.

Councillor Peter Bilson, the authority's regeneration chief, said: "This is not the lowest rate of increase we consulted over, but neither is it the highest. It is still within the boundaries of the limit put on us by the Government.

"The money will be used to fund investment into our properties of no less than £2bn. There will also be further investment in specialist support housing for adults with disabilities. No one likes the idea of rent increases, but we must have sustainable balances going forward."

The rent rise represents the latest in a long line of measures the cash-strapped authority has brought in as it bids to claw back funds in the wake of Government cuts to its budget.

Over the next four years the council has to save £123m. Last year around 2,000 staff were axed, while this month a wave of increased fees and charges were introduced, with burial fees, the cost of getting married, renting market stalls, keeping fit and pest control all rising.

The rent increases are due to come into effect from April 6.

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