Housing Executive rents to increase by 7.7% in April

Housing Executive rents are to increase by 7.7% from the start of April.

The Housing Executive said each tenant will receive a letter over the next few weeks advising of their new rent charges, and what they need to do.

A Department for Communities statement said rent pays for the housing services provided by the executive, Northern Ireland’s public housing authority.

The statement said: “This rent increase will provide funding for essential maintenance, improvements and investment, while also keeping the rent affordable for tenants.

“Tenant affordability was once again the department’s key consideration; 79% of Housing Executive tenants are currently in receipt of housing assistance.

“These tenants will be protected from the impact of the rent increase.”

The department said for tenants not in receipt of housing assistance, the impact of the increase had been “modelled across a range of household scenarios all of which demonstrated its affordability”.

It added: “The Housing Executive is offering support to tenants through its Financial Inclusion Team which helps tenants by providing advice on benefits, budgeting and signposting to a range of sources of financial support.

“Housing Executive rent levels are considered every year by taking into account a wide range of factors, including: inflation; projected running costs; spending requirements and affordability.”

The increase equates to an average additional £5.72 per week, increasing the average weekly rent for tenants from £74.24 to £79.96.

Grainia Long, chief executive at the Housing Executive, said: “Rent pays for customer and neighbourhood services as well as all maintenance of our homes and improvement work.

“It has never been more important that we continue to invest in our homes and provide services to tenants.

“The rent increase will go straight back into our houses and our customer services.

“This year we are spending £204million maintaining and improving our homes for our tenants and this increase will enable an increase in investment to approximately £288million next year.”

She added: “We are very much aware of the ongoing financial pressures faced by our tenants, and have increased the size of our Financial Inclusion Team to ensure we have the right support in place.

“We encourage any tenant who is having difficulty paying their rent to contact us immediately for assistance and advice.

“We would also reassure tenants that we will only take legal action in circumstances where rent is not fully paid and a tenant refuses to engage with us.”

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