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Does Wrexham Council need to increase rents 4.33%

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  • #54434

    wxm
    Participant

    The article in wrexham.com points out that inflation is 2.6%. The quotes suggest that this is a ‘fair’ rent, and that the money that comes in is reinvested into the properties. Yet, we are hearing that solar panels are being removed to repair aged roofs. Where does all the money go that comes in from rents? Is 4.33% a fair, appropriate and necessary increase?

    #66560

    shaun123
    Member

    I can’t remember exactly how, but I’m sure it was something like the council collect the rent, any surplus is then sent to government which is allocated to local authorities which overspend their housing. May have changed by now though.

    This link will explain what im trying to say a bit better Plaid Cymru: Money 'stolen' by UK Government could have built 12,000 council homes – Wales Online

    And that is where rent payments go!

    #66549

    Darlofan
    Participant

    They need to start inspecting council properties every few months and charging tenants for damage. We’ve had a couple of properties near us recently where tenants have moved out and the council have had to replace full kitchens, bathrooms, doors and replaster because of damage caused. There are also several that have had new fences, gates shed doors etc all because of damage caused by the tenants themselves. It wouldn’t be allowed in private rentals so why should tax payers pick up bills for idiots who can’t treat property that doesn’t belong to them with respect?

    #66550

    zinger
    Participant

    Do we know a percentage of people who actually pay rent. It isn’t fair to tenants who do pay rent to have to cover those who don’t. The same goes for council tax.

    #66551

    BenjaminM
    Participant

    Fact: housing benefit is administered by Local Authorities but funded by central government, in WCBC to the tune of £41 million in the last financial year so essentially there is little or no cost to LA’s.
    Let us not forget that many, many Social Housing tenants are there because of a lifestyle choice, not because of financial necessity, but partly because of the low rents that are charged compared to the private sector which in turn allows them to have more disposable income.
    The author of this post has on previous occasions stated that it is good that WCBC are discussing income generation but on the very next post condemns it. And yet here we are, discussing whether the rise is fair, equitable or necessary. That poses somewhat of an enigma. Which is it to be?
    I see no difference whatsoever between WCBC trying to ensure that there is a surplus at the year end and the domestic household trying to ensure there is a surplus at the end of the week.
    We are subject to an incessant deluge of the need for an single integrated plan but what is constantly ignored is that an SIP consists of many strands to form the whole, this being just one of them.
    We have all been subject to 8 or 9% increases in our energy bills and will undoubtedly be subject to an above inflation rise in council tax, so why should social housing tenants be immune from above inflation rent increases when they are increasing in the private sector?
    The blame for the vast majority of WCBC’s woes (and every other local authority) is Central and Welsh government’s reduction in funding. I am not connected in any way with WCBC and I am critical of some of their actions but I do maintain they are doing the job as well as any Local Authority in very trying and austere times and it does little or no good to pillory them on every occasion and on every policy decision.
    Perhaps the time is now to support rather than condemn or at the very least, make constructive not destructive observations.

    #66561

    sparky1
    Participant

    @darlofan 11555 wrote:

    They need to start inspecting council properties every few months and charging tenants for damage. We’ve had a couple of properties near us recently where tenants have moved out and the council have had to replace full kitchens, bathrooms, doors and replaster because of damage caused. There are also several that have had new fences, gates shed doors etc all because of damage caused by the tenants themselves. It wouldn’t be allowed in private rentals so why should tax payers pick up bills for idiots who can’t treat property that doesn’t belong to them with respect?

    The problem is we would then have to employ an inspector! then a manager to manage him then an assistant then we will need some kind of enforcement .the police will have to help then more police to enforce it then more money on court cases then more prisons to put them in then more cost to the tax payer o m g

    #66556

    wxm
    Participant

    Any increase in costs pushes up inflation throughout the economy. While customers of commodities have the choice to go elsewhere, in a council property you cannot easily leave your community.

    It seems reasonable to challenge why a 4.33% rise should be applied. This does not seem to be common across the UK? Can this money be better spent somewhere else in the economy?

    The demands on a council do seem straight forward responsibilities and budgets i.e. education, highways, housing, social care, community well-being through libraries and leisure, supporting the framework of society through planning and standards, waste, governance and democracy. The quotes in the article in wrexham.com seemed to imply the money was being directly controlled, and in part was being used for reinvestment into properties. But now we understand the HRA has more complicated formula. Surely democracy has become too complicated, and we need to simplify it for the benefit of all.

    Wrexham has some excellent achievements, and we still hear about the excellent work that staff do every day, especially in schools, social care, and keeping our roads open. But when an organisation only has 4 or 5 core areas to manage, and that the total cost and budget affects everyone … it is reasonable to challenge costs, and the need for a single plan.

    #66552

    BenjaminM
    Participant

    Fortunately, some of us understand the acronym HRA (housing revenue account) although no explanation of the term was forthcoming before it’s’ use.

    Far from the HRA becoming more complicated, it was simplified in April 2012 so that now the system allows Councils to keep their rental income and use it to fund their housing stock (called self financing). The quotes therefore were quite correct.

    As regards the percentage rise proposed, this is not a figure plucked out of thin air but based on a formula instigated by Central Government in 2001 and covering the period to 2014-15. Simply put, it is the Retail Price Index (RPI) figure for the September preceding, plus 0.5%.
    It can be demonstrated therefore, that the figure proposed is not too far off the mark.

    It appears that the term ‘simple integrated plan’ has become a meaningless mantra in some quarters who fail to realise that there are many elements that need come together to achieve a satisfactory conclusion and not a a one size fits all solution to the problem.
    I for one am confident that come April, normal service will be resumed and there may be a few months respite from WCBC being constantly subject to criticism. At least I live in hope!

    #66557

    wxm
    Participant

    Looking at the reports in the public domain for tomorrow’s meeting …there doesn’t appear to be a transparent income and expenditure account that sets out market rents to be collected …and itemised costs that will be incurred, including capital reinvestment.

    #66553

    BenjaminM
    Participant

    @wxm 11567 wrote:

    Looking at the reports in the public domain for tomorrow’s meeting …there doesn’t appear to be a transparent income and expenditure account that sets out market rents to be collected …and itemised costs that will be incurred, including capital reinvestment.

    And your point is ?

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