Investing in Hackney's homes - why Council rents are rising
We're introducing a small increase in the rent that Council tenants will need to pay, averaging £3 per week per household. Cllr Clayeon McKenzie, Cabinet Member for Housing Services, explains how this will help the Council invest in Hackney's homes.
For the first time since 2016 we are introducing a small increase in the rent that you will need to pay. This follows a new government policy which means that – after four years of reducing rents year-on-year – councils can now raise rents by the cost of inflation, plus an additional 1%.
Our priority is always to ensure that Council homes are genuinely affordable for all, and the average rent for one of our homes will remain among the lowest of all London boroughs and less than it was five years ago. However, the small increase will allow us to begin to reduce the £4 million of cuts that we’ve been forced to make due to government restrictions and invest more to keep your home clean, safe and warm.
We’ve invested more than £180 million in our homes and estates since 2016, fitting 6,000 new kitchens and bathrooms; installing 4,300 new boilers; and refurbishing 2,000 homes with new or modernised roofs, windows, insulation or decorations.
But it’s not just about bricks and mortar. In that time we’ve made it easier for you to report repairs online, set up a new team to protect vulnerable residents in financial difficulty, made our housing officers more visible on estates and expanded the Resident Liaison Group to give residents a greater influence. In four years, overall tenant satisfaction has increased from 66% to 77%.
There’s still much more to do, and – despite the continued financial pressures on councils – we’re putting a further £75 million into our homes and estates in 2020-21. This will help us build a bigger and better day-to-day repairs service and continue delivering our long-term investment plan, which sets out how we will prioritise this investment and engage residents throughout the processover the next seven years.
Fire safety remains a huge priority following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Our new resident safety team has already made strong progress in stepping up fire protection on our estates by replacing external wall insulation, installing new sprinklers and water systems, and beginning the replacement of 17,000 front doors to reduce fire risk. This important work will carry on across our estates in 2020 and beyond, despite the continued lack of financial support from government.
With the severe housing crisis facing Hackney showing just how important a safe, secure and genuinely affordable home is, the number of homes we own and manage continues to expand. Since 2018 we’ve completed nearly 700 new homes as part of our commitment to build around 2,000 new homes between 2018-2022, more than half of which will be for social rent and shared ownership.
We’re building these homes in collaboration with our communities, and I hope you’ll welcome any new neighbours onto your estates and have your say on plans for new homes near you.
Finally, since the government began rolling-out Universal Credit in Hackney, it has been clear that those who have moved to the new system are much more likely to be in financial difficulty than those still receiving housing benefit.
If you are having difficulty paying your rent due to Universal Credit or any other reason, please let us know as soon as possible. We can work with you to ensure you are getting all the support you are entitled to, provide advice on managing your money, and arrange for you to pay anything you owe in an affordable way.
Cllr Clayeon McKenzie, Cabinet Member for Housing Services