26 October 2020
The Minister for Children and Housing, Senator Sam Mézec, the Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Susie Pinel, and the Board of Andium Homes, have agreed a one-off deferral of the rent increase (“rent freeze”) next year for islanders living in social housing owned by Andium Homes.
Senator Mézec said: “I am extremely pleased to announce this rent freeze, which I have been championing since the summer. Islanders have been through a very difficult time because of COVID-19 and, unfortunately, we may have a difficult winter ahead of us. Many people on low incomes will continue to be experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic and I hope that, as a minimum, this rent freeze will discourage further inflation in the private rental sector and keep social housing rents at a level tenants can more easily afford. I will continue to work on a final settlement for social housing rent reform and introducing rent stabilisation.”
Not imposing the 2021 annual rent increase is a one-off departure from the social housing rent policy, which normally requires an annual increase in social rents based on a set formula on the 1 January every year. This formula would have increased most rents by 2.5% from 1 January at a time when the RPI that was published last week showed a much lower increase in prices at 0.9%.
This announcement applies to Andium Homes, the largest provider of social housing in Jersey. Other social housing providers such as The Jersey Homes Trust, Les Vaux Trust and Christians Together Jersey have all held back rent increases this year.
Treasury Minister, Deputy Pinel, added: “It is important that the Government provides financial support through a range of schemes to help families and businesses during this difficult time. I am grateful to Andium Homes for the part they have played in this process.”
Andium Homes’ Finance Director, Lindsay Wood, said, “We are happy to have been able to work with Government to defer the annual rent increase in 2021. Andium Homes relies on rental income to fund its operations and so we worked closely with Government to identify a solution that does not unduly impact on our development and maintenance programmes or on the £30m return that we make to Government each year.”