Social housing landlords urged to 'set rents appropriately' as maximum uplift cap announced

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: 'It is vital that we continue to do all that we can to support those who face severe financial hardship.' Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Social housing tenants across Wales are to be further protected next year, with a new rent uplift cap announced by the Welsh Government.

It's been set at 6.7% from April 2024.

Around 230,000 properties across Wales are registered as social housing.

Climate Change Minister Julie James says the 'rent uplift' will "provide additional support to those already facing pressures from the rising costs of food, energy and other household goods."

The Office for Nationals reported UK inflation was 6.7% in the year to September.

The minister says this has "influenced her decision" to once again "intervene under the Welsh Government Rent and Service Charge Standard 2020-2025."

A recent survey on rent setting by the Tenant Participation Advisory Service Cymru found:

Julie James, MS, said: “It is vital that we continue to do all that we can to support those who face severe financial hardship, which is why I have made the decision to set the maximum uplift cap at the level of inflation.

“This means social landlords can charge a maximum social rent increase of 6.7% across all of their properties".

The Minister is urging social landlords to continue to "support tenants struggling with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis" and to honour the "no evictions due to financial hardship policy" for tenants that engage with them.

94% of tenants received a rent increase from April 2023 according to figures from the Tenant Participation Advisory Service Cymru, with just over a third aged between 35-64 saying they felt significantly impacted by the uplift.

With many households across Wales still experiencing financial pressures, the Climate Change Minister acknowledged that the 6.7% social housing rent uplift price cap for 2024 "may not feel ‘lower’ to many people across Wales".

She says “Landlords are not required to charge the maximum uplift amount" and is urging all social landlords to "carefully consider affordability and set rents appropriately across their housing stocks.

"Next year will be the final year of the five-year rent policy", the Minister added.

"We will continue to work in close collaboration with social landlords, the wider sector and other partners to inform our future rent policy, develop a consistent approach to assessing affordability and continue to provide support to both social landlords and their tenants.

"Affordability is at the heart of social rent policies in Wales, and we will continue to strengthen our approaches and work effectively with partners to deliver on our commitments."

Community Housing Cymru's Chief Executive, Stuart Rope, said: “The permitted rent settlement is a ceiling, not a target. Housing associations will now set rents locally by engaging with tenants and using tools to understand affordability.“They want people that live in their homes to feel safe and secure, and no one experiencing financial difficulties need worry about losing their home, where they work with their housing association.“If you are a housing association tenant who is concerned about or is struggling with rent or household costs, please contact your landlord directly.

"Every Welsh housing association has a specialised, local team in place to support their tenants.”

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