The Chair of the North Lambeth Leaseholders' Forum (a prominent Liberal Democrat activist) has put out a misleading statement about rents and service charges which we need to correct.
At Monday's meeting of the Labour Group of councillors the Cabinet member for Housing explained what officers have recommended as a rent and service charge rise for tenants (there was no discussion about leaseholder charges).
A rent rise of around £4.13 on average (5%) has been floated as possible; and an average of 83p (8%) service charge increase for tenants.
This is the very first stage in the rent setting process. At the moment, all figures are estimates, because the government has not yet confirmed what Lambeth's final financial settlement will be. The next step in the rent setting process is a series of scrutiny meetings and Tenants' Council.
Lambeth's Labour councillors will be looking to keep this year's rent rise as low as possible. We are looking for savings from Lambeth Living and Lambeth Council as well as greater investment in areas such as repairs which needs more money. However, councillors have a legal duty to balance the Housing Revenue Account, so our room for manouevre is limited.
To be absolutely clear: no decisions about the level of rent have been taken. And there was no discussion of charges to leaseholders at Monday's meeting. Leaseholder charges are set precisely according to the contracts between leaseholders and the Council.
Labour councillors are working tirelssly to try to achieve value for money, decent homes, good robust management and action on ineffective staff and processes. Transforming Lambeth's housing services takes time. Setting a fair, affordable rent which covers the cost of the service is part of that process.
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