A response to the social housing rent consultation
I am a housing association tenant living in Hackney, London. I am also the chair of the tenants’ and residents’ association on the four-landlord estate where I live.
At our meetings recently tenants, many of whom are on low incomes, have voiced their serious concerns about making ends meet in the current cost of living crisis. We know that people are facing impossible choices for themselves and their families between eating, heating and paying the rent.
For this reason I am asking the government to impose a rent freeze on all social rents. Any of the three proposed options, 3 per cent, 5 per cent or 7 per cent, would place an intolerable additional burden on already impoverished people. We have already had an over 4 per cent rise in our rents this year.
The rent freeze should apply to all social rented properties. I disagree with the proposal that councils should have the power to increase rent for voids (empty properties) by CPI+%. Allowing councils and housing associations to do this would create anomalies in social rent homes and would drive up rents now and in the long term.
It is important, however, that councils and housing associations should have enough income to maintain all homes to a good standard, especially in the face of the effects of inflation on the cost of building works. I am therefore asking the government to fully fund all council and housing association landlords with an amount equivalent to the level of inflation, in accordance with the number of their social rented homes.
In so doing the government would be fulfilling its responsibilities to some of the most impoverished members of the electorate, those likely to suffer the greatest hardship in the current situation.