Issue - meetings

HRA Business Plan, Rent and Service Charge setting report

Meeting: 07/02/2022 - Cabinet (Item 3)

3 HRA Business Plan, Rent and Service Charge setting report pdf icon PDF 385 KB

Wards: All

 

Report Authorised by: Strategic Director of Resident Services: Bayo Dosunmu

 

Contact for enquiries: Shankar Siva Ananthan, Group Finance Manager, 07904 227175, ssivaananthan@lambeth.gov.uk

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness, Councillor Maria Kay, who highlighted that:

 

           All of the Council’s tenants rents were paid into the Housing Revenue account which was for the management of housing properties as well as maintenance, repairs and major works

           The Council had no option but to increase  rent as much  investment was needed in the housing stock to get it to a standard that residents’ deserve and expect. The Council had ambitious improvement targets for its housing stock over the next  10 years

           The Government had forced rent reductions over a 4 year period which has meant a cumulative loss of income of £28.5m to the HRA

           None of the works were funded by central Government, which meant increasing rents was the only way to generate the income needed for improvements

           Rents were historically low whereas pressures were historically high, it was imperative to take action to try to ensure balanced budgets

           The Council was aware that rent increases would place some families in financial hardship, which was not taken lightly. There were a number of iniatives and tools available to support those in need including benefits and debt management.

 

Cabinet was addressed by Councillor Scott Ainslie of the Green Group, who highlighted a number of questions surrounding:

 

           A one-off payment of £2 million referenced in 2.3 of the report

           The number of voids which were being worked on

           Housing standards and whether there was a post-completion report ready

           Homes for Lambeth and the payments made by them into the HRA

 

In response to some of the questions and comments raised, Officers and the Cabinet Member advised the following:

 

               Some of the queries from the Green Group around disrepair and its associated costs would be answered in due course

               Lambeth had set up a new organisation of direct delivery of communal works which required upgrading to new contracts and investing in new systems. This included when an operative was going to complete a repair, there was a system for resources to be delivered directly to the firm; as well as developing the Housing Portal to improve the system for residents’ use

               The Officer would look into the status of Housing standards and the availability of a completion report and bring it back to Councillor Ainslie

               Mitigations were already in place to support residents suffering financial hardship

 

Cabinet made the following observations:

 

           The report required Cabinet to make difficult decision but was necessary.  Thanks were given to the Officers and the Cabinet Member for their work in the report

           There were some concerns raised around the levels of disrepair and an overspend in dealing with these.

 

Following consideration, it was resolved that Cabinet:

 

1. Agreed the approach to setting tenant and leasehold service charges, garage, parking and supported housing charges

2. Agreed the increase in rents of 4.1%, this being composed of Consumer Price Index (CPI) at the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3