Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Cambridge council home rents to rise by about £5 a week





Council home rents in Cambridge will rise by around £5 a week from April.

The city council has agreed a five per cent rent increase for its council homes and all other social rented and social shared ownership properties.

Council rents will go up 5%
Council rents will go up 5%

The increase is above what the Labour-run council had budgeted for last year, but lower than the seven per cent government cap.

At a meeting of the housing scrutiny committee on January 24, council officers highlighted the “challenging backdrop” the authority faced with “significant increases in inflation spiralling out of control” and “significant increases in borrowing rates”.

They explained that before the challenges the authority had expected a rent increase of three per cent, based on inflation predicted at being two per cent, plus one per cent.

But a report presented to the committee said that an increase based on inflation plus one per cent would result in a rise of 11.1 per cent, above the cap of seven per cent. The report said the council was proposing an increase lower than this to “mitigate the impact on tenants”.

It means an average rent increase of £5.36 per week.

Those paying affordable rents also face a five per cent rise - meaning an average increase of £7.81 per week.

Cambridge Investment Partnership has started work to deliver its first pilot Passivhaus council homes at Fen Road, East Chesterton. Back row, from left, Mark Wilson, of Cambridge City Council, Hill Group’s Reiss Barnes, Dean Godden and Lauren New, and front, Cllr Gerri Bird and Cllr Jenny Gawthrope Wood
Cambridge Investment Partnership has started work to deliver its first pilot Passivhaus council homes at Fen Road, East Chesterton. Back row, from left, Mark Wilson, of Cambridge City Council, Hill Group’s Reiss Barnes, Dean Godden and Lauren New, and front, Cllr Gerri Bird and Cllr Jenny Gawthrope Wood

Cllr Gerri Bird (Lab, East Chesterton), the executive councillor for housing, said: “Seven per cent I felt was too much. I would like not to put it up myself. Firstly, we discussed three per cent, which I wanted as well, then when we looked through the figures the result was five per cent was the best one.

“This will not affect about 60 per cent of tenants, because they are on benefits, and for the 40 per cent of tenants who are not on benefits it may drop them into the benefit line as well, which is why we decided five per cent was the best one.”

Opposition councillors supported not raising the social rents by the maximum amount, but wanted to see more funding in the housing budget to tackle mould, damp and condensation in council properties.

Cllr Matthew Howard (Green, Abbey) did not believe the budget focused enough on these issues.

He said there was a “huge opportunity” for the council to put “more effort and resources” into solving the problems he had seen in council properties.

Cllr Katie Porrer (Lib Dem, Market) presented a Liberal Democrat amendment calling for more staff to be hired to deal with the “repairs backlog” and to focus on tackling damp, mould and condensation.

She said she knew how hard officers at the council were working and said the proposed housing budget was “continuing business as usual” and would not tackle the “backlog”.

Cllr Katie Porrer
Cllr Katie Porrer

Cllr Porrer said continuing to underspend the repairs budget risked creating a “two-tier” system between new council homes and existing council homes, with the older homes becoming “more and more expensive to live in as bills go up”.

Cllr Porrer also proposed hiring a dedicated officer to focus on damp, mould and condensation issues and look at longer-term prevention, rather than “short-term fixes”.

Officers said there was not a list of repairs waiting to be done, but recognised that due to fewer repairs being reported during the pandemic there was a “perceived backlog” of people not coming forward.

They said there had been “significant underspend” on repairs during the pandemic, and that while the number of repairs being reported was back at pre-pandemic levels, they were lower cost repairs.

They also explained that some officers had been moved internally to tackle increased reports of damp, mould and condensation.

The Lib Dem amendment failed to get enough support to be adopted.

The housing budget proposals were voted through.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More