Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting st albans to 80360, or email us
Lower rent increase for St Albans council houses will mean fewer repairs
A lower rent increase for St Albans council houses means that there will be £8.3 million less to invest in replacement projects.
In the short term the council will have less money to spend on projects to replace kitchens, bathrooms and windows, which will mean they will be put on hold each year into the following year.
St Albans District Council backed a lower average rent increases of 3.1 per cent compared to the 5.2 per cent originally proposed by leading conservative party.
This is the second year in a row that the council has voted for a rent increase that is lower than that recommended by cabinet.
The council has proposed they use a forecast £500,000 of mostly additional income previously ear-marked for debt repayment to help offset the effect on the housing investment programme.
Councillor Brian Ellis, portfolio holder for housing for at the council, said: "There are considerable pressures on the council’s housing investment programme as a result of the lower rent increases.
"Cabinet needs to consider how the council will continue to invest in its housing stock and maintain the Government’s Decent Homes standard for public housing.
"A report into the options available to the council is being prepared and cabinet will consider this later in the year."
If the council is to continue to invest in the houses it owns as originally planned, it may need to consider other sources of funding.
Officers will now conduct a detailed review of the social housing business plan ahead of the budget setting process for 2014/15 and report on the options available to cabinet. These could include providing a lower level of service and reviewing future rent increases.