Last year, as part of the wider commitment to end homelessness in Wales, the Welsh Government announced a number of steps to support people in social rented accommodation as part of an agreement with local authorities and Registered Social Landlords.
This week, Climate Change Minister Julie James has announced a continuation of that support from social landlords as well as a new maximum social rent uplift cap of 6.7% from April 2024.
The Minister said: “Last year, I made the decision to cap the social housing rent uplift below the level of inflation to provide additional support to our social housing tenants as they faced pressures from the rising costs of food, energy and other household goods.
“The Office for National Statistics reported UK inflation was 6.7% in the year to September, which means I must, once again, intervene and determine the maximum rent uplift for next year under the Welsh Government Rent and Service Charge Standard 2020 – 2025.
“It is vital that we continue do all that we can to support those who face severe financial hardship, which is why I have made the decision to set the maximum uplift cap at the level of inflation.
“This means social landlords can charge a maximum social rent increase of 6.7% across all of their properties.
“Today’s announcement also ensures ongoing commitments from social landlords in Wales to support tenants struggling with the impacts of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, including the continuation of the no evictions due to financial hardship policy for tenants that engage with their landlords.”
The rent settlement for 2024-25 means that targeted support will be provided to those experiencing financial hardship to access support as well as investment in existing homes to keep them safe, warm and affordable to live in.
The Minister continued: “Despite CPI falling significantly since September 2022, the current economic climate continues to present challenges for both social landlords and their tenants.
“A recent survey on rent setting by the Tenant Participation Advisory Service Cymru indicated a 9% fall in the number of respondents who felt that their rent was unaffordable.
“However, I am well aware of the impacts that the continuing cost-of-living crisis has put on social housing tenants and that this uplift may not feel ‘lower’ to many people across Wales.
“Landlords are not required to charge the maximum uplift amount and I urge all social landlords to carefully consider affordability and set rents appropriately across their housing stocks.”
Next year will be the final year of the five-year rent policy.
We will continue to work in close collaboration with social landlords, the wider sector and other partners to inform our future rent policy, develop a consistent approach to assessing affordability and continue to provide support to both social landlords and their tenants.
Affordability is at the heart of social rent policies in Wales, and we will continue to strengthen our approaches and work effectively with partners to deliver on our commitments.