Social housing tenants across Leeds fear the month of February as this is the month when rises have been announced consistently for the last three years.
Some associations such as the Leeds and Yorkshire housing association have introduced significant rent rises which are according to some housing tenants renting from the housing association, becoming unaffordable.
Sharon Mullen rents a Leeds and Yorkshire housing home in the Morley area of Leeds. Sharon claims the rent rises are forcing her to consider taking up private rented accommodation as this is becoming a cheaper option.
“When I was given one of the homes in the new Park field court estate I was delighted as it provided me and my family with a beautiful modern home at an affordable rent which was initially £440 a month in 2010 but now it is £530 a month .
If it the it goes up any higher this month then we will have to move, as we are barely getting by now with the rent as it is. This is supposed to be affordable housing but it has become more expensive than most private accommodation in this area “.
Loiners Eye made further enquiries into the rent rises being experienced by tenants in the Park field court estate, by speaking to a number of tenants who rent their properties privately from Leeds and Yorkshire housing.
Enquiries found that private tenants were paying the same amount of rent for a three bed roomed property ,that tenants renting through the social housing scheme were paying.
Loiners eye contacted Derek Stewart housing manager for Leeds and Yorkshire housing and asked him why such social housing tenants were being forced to pay such high rents that were the same as those being paid by private tenants. Derek responded to the question by outlining what he called LYHA two main rent processes.
“Our two main tenants are secure tenants and assured tenants, the secure tenants have their rent set by a rent officer who judges whether or not the rent is fair by taking into account various factors such as location and market value of the property.”
Derek further explains that assured tenants have their rent calculated by the board of management at LYHA which is calculated by setting target rents for each property with the annual increase limited to RPI +½%+£2 until the target charge is reached.
When asked to clarify why social housing rents are at the moment at the same level as private tenant rents, and what LYHA intend to about this in the Park field court estate, Mr. Stewart preferred to refrain from discussing the matter, and instead chose to highlight some of the challenges LYHA expect to encounter throughout 2013.
Such as the impending welfare reform bedroom tax and universal credit with Mr. Stewart referring to these matters as ‘the big issues ‘ that LYHA expect to concentrate on.