New Government rent rules leave families facing huge rises

Hsing-Chen Lee of Lower Edge, Elland, is complaining that Pennine Housing raised the family's rent by 10 per cent last year and again this year
Hsing-Chen Lee of Lower Edge, Elland, is complaining that Pennine Housing raised the family's rent by 10 per cent last year and again this year

SOME of Calderdale’s lowest-earning residents are facing huge rent hikes because of new Government rental rules.

Pennine Housing has been forced to raise its rents because of new Westminster targets.

The increase has left an Elland family having to find the cash for a nine per cent rise in their rent this year – after the same rise last year.

Hsing-Chen Lee, who lives with her husband Ian and two children in Whitwell Avenue, said their rent went up by £6 a week last year and now they have been told it will go up again by £6. Her husband works in a warehouse and she works with homeless people. They earn just enough to mean they can not claim housing benefit.

A spokeswoman for Pennine Housing 2000 said: “Pennine still have around 5,700 tenants with rents below the Government target levels as we have previously limited rent increases where possible.

“However we are now under pressure to make sure any remaining rents are raised to the Government’s target and this will impact on tenants this year.

“Pennine rents are still among the lowest in Calderdale, as evidenced on the Tenant Services Authority Website.

“We urge tenants to contact us if they are experiencing difficulties paying as we can check benefits and help with payment plans.”

George Paterson, director of Corporate Services, said: “We appreciate the difficult circumstances many of our tenants face but we are following the terms and formula for rent set centrally by the Government. This formula, based on the retail price index plus 0.5 per cent, is designed to achieve a target level to equalise rents across all social landlords.

“If the property is substantially below or above target then an amount of £2 per week can be added or taken off to help achieve it.

“We can assure tenants that as we are a not-for-profit organisation, all the money we collect goes back into maintaining a first class service and improving properties.

“But if any of our tenants are worried about paying their rent we urge them to contact the Penine Housing Income Team on 0300 5550266.”