Climate Change Minister Julie James has today (Wednesday, November 16) confirmed the cap for social rents for the next financial year along with a package of support for tenants.
The Minister outlined a series of commitments she had secured with social landlords including that there will be ‘no evictions due to financial hardship for the term of the rent settlement in 2023-24’ where tenants engage with their landlords.
The Minister also explained the decision making behind setting the social rent cap at 6.5%.
I have been clear that no social tenant will experience any change in their rent until April 2023 but I do need to set rents for the next financial year now to give the sector time to plan.
From April 2023, the maximum limit which social rents can charge will be 6.5% - an increase well below the rate of inflation. This is the maximum any landlord can charge across all of their properties.
No landlord is required to charge the maximum and I know all landlords will carefully consider affordability and set rents as appropriate across their housing stock.
Within the overall settlement landlords may freeze, lower or raise individual rents based on a number of local factors of which affordability is a key consideration. The rate is a maximum not a requirement or a target.
We know that any increase in social rent may impact those social tenants who pay all or part of their own rent. These tenants, in particular, need to be protected from being placed into financial hardship through trying to cover the costs of keeping a roof over their heads.
Our agreement with our social landlords will help do that – protecting and enhancing the provision of good quality housing and vital tenant support services.
Finally, our agreement with social landlords builds on existing engagement with tenants in rent-setting decisions, including explaining how income from rent is invested and spent.
Working in partnership with tenants, Welsh Government, funders and other partners will develop a consistent approach to assessing affordability across the social housing sector in Wales.
I would like to thank all the organisations which provided evidence to my officials, to help us reach this agreement.
In Wales, approximately three-quarters of social tenants have all or part of their rents covered by benefits. Therefore, for many tenants any increase in rent will be covered by benefits paid by the UK Government.
A joint campaign, encouraging tenants to talk to their landlord if they are experiencing financial difficulties and access support available, will be launched across Wales next year.