Almost all of the funding for maintaining, managing, building and improving our council homes comes from the rent you pay.
Most rents are set using the national rent formula for council homes, which was introduced in 2002 and takes into account:
For each home, a target rent was set using this formula, which was comparable to the rent for a similar property in housing associations, where rents were generally a little higher than council homes. Target rents increased by inflation annually, while actual rents increased by slightly more than inflation, over time moving towards target rent levels. This was known as rent convergence and was intended to equalise rents across the sector and hence increase the choice of properties for tenants. Since 2017, we now move to target rent levels on a change in tenancy.
Our new build homes may have affordable rents which are based on up to 80% of local market rents.
From April 2016 to April 2019, council rents are being decreased by 1% annually, as required by government. After this period we expect that we will be able to increase rents by inflation plus 1% annually. We discuss proposed changes to rent levels with Dudley Federation of Tenants' and Residents' Associations and with the Housing Board. Rent setting is approved annually by Cabinet in the February before the start of each financial year (at the start of April), and all tenants receive a letter by the end of February letting them know the change in rent levels.
When we make recommendations for rent increases, we will take into account the financial impact of an increase on tenants, but we will also consider the needs of the housing service to maintain, manage and improve our homes, and to be able to build new council homes in the future.