Council rent setting
The Council is responsible for setting the level of rent based on how much it needs to spend on services for its tenants.
What is rent restructuring?
In 2002, the Government introduced a policy which aims to move the rents charged by councils and housing associations to a common basis.
Under this process, known as 'convergence', the rents of Waltham Forest properties will be increased gradually each year towards a target level. The original plan was to reach the target in 2011/12 but the latest proposal is that most council rents will reach target levels in 2012/13.
This process requires local authorities and housing associations to set target rents based on a formula set by the Government which takes into account factors such as average wages in the area as well as the size and location of a property.
Each year, the rent for each property is increased by an amount for inflation plus an amount for 'convergence' to move the rent towards the target rent for that property.
However, there is a limit on annual rent increases so that reaching target rents may take longer for some properties.
Why is this taking place?
The Government's reasons for rent restructuring are:
- To ensure social rents remain affordable and well below those in the private sector
- To ensure social rents are fairer and less confusing for tenants
- To provide a closer link between rents and the qualities which tenants value in properties
- To remove unjustifiable differences between the rents set by local authorities and housing associations
This process is intended to achieve a harmonisation of rents, so that similar properties in the same area should have similar rents, and should also help prepare the way for the Government to extend its reforms on Housing Benefit to tenants in the social sector.