Waltham Forest and Redbridge councils increase rent

Council house rent will increase in both Waltham Forest and Redbridge from April this year.

Both councils have chosen to increase rent for their tenants by 2.7 per cent, the maximum allowed without permission from the Secretary of State.

On average, this will mean an increase of only a few pounds a week for a two-bedroom property.

However, an online survey of Redbridge council tenants found that almost half of those who responded said the increase would cause them financial hardship.

At a Waltham Forest cabinet meeting on February 25, Cllr Louise Mitchell (Lab and Co-op, Chapel End) said the government was “encouraging councils to increase rent”.

She said the council offers “an extremely competitive low rent”, lower than the local housing allowance, and that “almost half” of this rent goes towards maintenance and new building.

Waltham Forest Council will invest £112 million in council housing this year, which Cllr Mitchell said was “pretty much the highest amount we have ever spent per year”.

Redbridge Council conducted an online survey of council tenants regarding the proposed change, to which 23 responded.

Out of this number, 11 said the change would cause them financial hardship, while six disagreed and six more were neutral.

Redbridge Council intends to spend more than £20 million on council homes this year, more than half of which will go on external works.

To fund this programme, it will have to borrow more than £8 million this year and more than £133 million over the next five years.

This year is the first time in four years that local councils have been able to increase social rents in London.

In addition to increasing council rents, both councils have chosen to increase sheltered housing charges, rents for travellers and garage costs.

Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter