Rents for Arun District Council’s social housing tenants are set to go up by 7.7 per cent this year.
The council hopes the increase will balance its Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget and improve its reserves, which are still below the council’s self imposed target of £2 million, according to Group Head of Finance, Antony Baden.
Members of the council’s Policy and Finance Committee were presented with a report on the HRA budget for 2024/25 at its meeting on Thursday, February 9, and supported the rise to full council for final approval at its meeting on February 21.
Mr Baden said it was not a decision taken ‘lightly’, but hoped the six per cent increase in benefits announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt in November last year would help offset costs for some tenants.
The council’s HRA saw roughly £1.1 million in extra costs for the 2024/25 budget, around £600,000 came from the repairs budget.
The account’s reserves are set to increase from around £551,000 to £1 million due to the rise in rates.
Leader of the Opposition and previous council leader Shaun Gunner (Con, Rustington East), said this was an ‘abnormally’ high increase in rents for council housing tenants compared to usual annual rises.
Leader of the council Matt Stanley (LDem, Marine) said this rent rise was in line with last year’s rise of seven per cent agreed by the previous administration, stating this was a ‘difficult decision’ for the council to make given the current cost of living situation for many of its tenants.