Rents rise for tenants


COUNCIL house tenants in Chesterfield are facing a £300-a-year rent hike.

Despite fears over the ability of residents to afford it, Chesterfield Borough Council recommended the 8.83 per cent rise — equal to an extra £5.53 per week for an average rent.

The changes will come into force in April and will see the lowest increase of £3.48 per week and the highest of £7.23 per week.

Derbyshire Times Facebook friends have spoken out against the changes

Emma Agutter said: “It’s unfair. Social housing was there for people who couldn’t afford or have job security to get a mortgage. Increases in rent are likely to push already lower income families/individuals/couples (who are paying full rent) further into working poverty.”

Sarah Jane Smith said: “That is shocking we can only just afford it now as we do not get any help as we both work, it is so wrong.”

For some tenants, the rent increase will mean that they are now entitled to housing benefit.

For tenants who already receive housing benefit, the increase in rent will be automatically covered by an increase in benefit.

But Mary White, of Mastin Moor Tenants and Residents Association, said the changes could affect low-income families.

She added: “The people that rely on benefits will still get their benefits. It is the ones in the middle of the pile that work, that could be affected.”

However Mrs White said overall she accepted the rent rise and felt the council provided value-for-money.

She added: “It will be a shock to a lot of people but we have to look at what we are actually getting for our money and I think council tenants get a better deal.

“If I need a job doing I can ring the council and they are there the next day.”

Cllr Jim McManus, executive member for housing, said the council was following the Government guides for rent increases as there were penalties for going above or below the guidelines.

He added: “Because of the scale of the average rent increases, the council has resolved that there should be no increase in service charges for the year, for example, for heating tickets, wardens’ services, Careline, garden assistance, community room hire and communal staircase cleaning.”