31 October 2018
The Minister for Housing, Senator Sam Mézec, has signed a ministerial decision to limit the maximum annual increase in rents for people living in socially rented housing.
Following consultation with the Minister for Treasury and Resources, Senator Mézec's decision amends the way annual rent adjustments are calculated in relation to the Retail Prices Index (RPI).
The move follows Andium Homes’ decision to postpone its annual increase in October 2018 in view of an unexpectedly high increase in RPI which would have led to rents rising by 5.25%.
Under the previous policy, social housing rents increased annually by RPI +0.75%. The new policy will introduce a minimum and maximum percentage that social housing rents may be increased by each year.
From January 2019, rents will continue to increase by RPI +0.75%, but the level of RPI will be restricted to a range between 1.75% and 3.25%. This means that tenants’ rents will increase by a minimum of 2.5% and a maximum of 4.0% on an annual basis.
In addition, following the decision to defer the annual increase, the date for rent adjustments has moved to 1 January with effect from 2019. Rent adjustments were previously applied on 1 October annually.
Senator Sam Mézec said: “I am pleased that, with the agreement of Andium Homes and the Treasury Minister, we have been able to introduce a cap on the level at which rents can be raised. It was clear that, with inflation at a higher rate than was expected this year, that the old system would not be fair for tenants who would have seen a 5.25% rise in rents. In line with the government’s strategic priorities, work will continue next year with a new Housing Policy Development Board to examine further work we can undertake to review our rent policies.”
The island’s housing trusts have been consulted on these proposals and intend to operate within the parameters of the policy taking into account their own business models.