BARNSLEY Council admits that a rent increase of 7.7 per cent which is set to be approved later this month will put added financial pressure on residents.
Last year Barnsley Council bosses, alongside Berneslai Homes, increased tenants’ rent by 6.5 per cent – slightly less than the maximum threshold increase of seven per cent.
A report, which was discussed by councillors last year, suggested that bosses would have to make some ‘difficult’ decisions to ensure the 18,000-strong housing stock meets the national requirements.
It has now been confirmed that a rent rise of 7.7 per cent has been put forward by the council – representing an average increase of £6.47 a week.
Council bosses have admitted that this may pose additional financial pressure on tenants, and have assured residents that those who are struggling will have the option of extra support.
Coun Robin Franklin, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said: “Living in a warm, safe home is essential for staying healthy and well, and this is something that every resident in Barnsley should have access to.
“The proposed increase to tenants’ rents will help us to fulfil the needs of our tenants and will support our continued investment in council homes.
“We understand that the rising cost of living is a major concern for many people in our communities.
“If you need help managing your money, utility bills, food and housing, employment and skills, please visit our More Money in Your Pocket webpage for a range of help on offer.”
The council has also allocated ‘significant’ funding to develop 200 new homes in the Barnsley area over the next five years.
Funding will also be set aside to keep the council’s stock maintained in line with decency standards.
A new dedicated team will be on hand to deal with damp, mould and repairs.
The council are also working hard to ensure the housing stock can get to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C by 2030 – both the council and government target.
Though it’s expected that this will cost around £58m.
Coupled with the backlog of work that needs to be completed on home, rising costs are something councillors are working on.
“It should be noted that there is currently a backlog of planned works which is impacting on tenant satisfaction and resulting in an increase in complaints and disrepair cases,” a report said.
“The backlog originates from works which were reported but were unable to be completed in-year due to the large volume.
“It is a priority for Berneslai Homes and its contractor partners to complete these works as quickly and efficiently as possible, whilst ensuring that there is not an overspend situation in-year.”