Anger as social housing rents set to rise

Sunday 23 October 2011 06:02

Housing groups today reacted angrily to government plans to bring social housing rents closer to private sector ones.

Rents for new tenants in the social housing sector are set to be increased to around 80% of the amount people would be charged in the private sector.

The money raised will be used to build 150,000 new affordable homes during the coming four years, while the move will only affect new tenants.

But the National Housing Federation, which represents English housing associations, warned that the change could lead to thousands of low income families having to pay up to £9,000 a year more in rent.

The group said the average rent for a three-bedroom social home is £85 a week, but under today's plans that could triple to £250 a week.

It warned that as a result many new tenants were likely to be heavily dependent on housing benefit to cover the extra costs, which was likely to act as a "powerful disincentive" for people who were unemployed to get a job.

Jenny Jones, a member of the London Assembly, said: "This could be the end of affordable housing in central London where market rents are very high.

"Rent rises will only increase the housing benefit bill, which pays for the failure to build low-rent social housing. The whole thing seems unworkable."

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