COUNCIL house tenants face an inflation-busting rent rise – just days after the Examiner revealed a £5m shortfall.
Kirklees Council’s cabinet will decide next week whether to put up rents in April by 6.88% – 2% more than inflation.
The move would mean the average weekly bill would rise by £4.47 from £65.02 to £69.49.
The council’s Labour cabinet will vote on the increase at its weekly meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall at 4.30pm next Tuesday.
But a Kirklees spokesman said last night that the Government had forced the council to put up rents by more than inflation.
He said: “Rents for council tenancies are set in line with national guidelines to ensure that social rents are affordable compared with other equivalent market rents in the area, and at the same time work to remove the differences between rent levels set by councils and those set by other social landlords like housing associations.
“The rent increase has been set in this way since 2001.”
The increase would affect the one-third of the 23,000 council tenants in Kirklees who do not receive housing benefit.
The council cabinet has also been asked to put up other weekly housing charges by 5.6%.
The rises include:
Garage rents from £4.39 to £4.64
Concierge service from between £11.97 and £12.33 to between £12.64 and £13.02
Sheltered housing management from £10.65 to £11.25
Parking spaces from £3.77 to £3.98
Bronze-level furnishing from £10.42 to £11
Silver-level furnishing from £15.65 to £16.53
Gold-level furnishing from £20.87 to £22.04.
News of the proposed rises comes a week after the Examiner revealed that council tenants owe more than £5m in rent.
Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), which runs council houses in the district, is owed £1.72m by current tenants – £340,000 above its target of £1.38m.
Former tenants owe £3.36m, £860,000 more than the target of £2.5m.
KNH is about to write off £700,000 of the arrears.