Brentwood Council agrees ‘essential’ rent and council tax increase plans

Rent rises of almost eight per cent is “essential” if Brentwood Council wants to continue to keep investing in its housing stock.

The council is also set to increase council tax by 2.99 per cent for the coming year – increasing payments on an average band D property for Brentwood Council services to £210.70 from  £204.58.

The average rent increase of 7.7 per cent will result in an average weekly rent of £101.41 and an average weekly increase of £7.25 for flats.

It will lead to an average weekly rent of £125.35 and an average increase of £8.96 for houses one bungalows.

Councillor Barrett said the social rents are still around a third that of the open market rents.

He added the proposal to increase rent by 7.7 per cent, in line with the funding formula provided by the government will help support the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) which in turn will help fund new affordable housing and repairs.

He told the finance committee: “Not a single affordable house was built or finished in Brentwood last year, which makes investing in our affordable and social housing stock so important and so vital

I think it’s worth recognizing yes that the rent increases are not necessarily at a level I would like in an ideal world but for a four-bed home under the new rent increase for a social rent the average will be £701 a month,  for an affordable rent it will be £ 1,123 a month.

“The cheapest four-bedroom house you can rent in Brentwood right now privately is £2,200.

“So even after these increase it will be half the market rate that is an exceptionally positive figure for those tenants and actually we need to build more of those houses as a priority so that’s why this investment is essential.”

He added:  we need that to support our residents which means we need to invest to build.

“There isn’t an easy way to do it. we can’t just pump in money from the HRA from nowhere it has to be self-funding and self-financing

“Those are the rules that is the reality.

“Our residents need affordable and sustainable housing. the best affordable and sustainable housing are provided by us as a local Authority this budget delivers that.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter