Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Housing
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
Nick Haverly, Finance Manager, introduced the report on behalf of the Director of Property & Housing and the Director of Finance and Information Services. The report laid out the proposed setting of rents and charges for the 2017/18 financial year. He explained the central government's rent policy which meant a reduction of 1% p.a. and that service charges were at levels of full cost recovery. Tenants and leaseholders had been consulted via PCC's Housetalk magazine and had been invited to attend residents meetings, and he thanked those who had participated in this process. The appendices to the report gave full details of the proposed changes to rents and charges.
Councillor Wemyss, as Cabinet Member, thanked Nick Haverly and his team for their hard work in preparing the budget and for the consultation with residents. He felt that due to government policy there was little discretion in setting the rents and the charges were at a level of cost recovery.
Councillor Tom Wood and Stephen Morgan agreed that there was little room for flexibility and that resident engagement remained important to this process, including the meeting with the Residents' Consortium. Councillor Wemyss recognised that there had been less feedback this year due to the rent reduction, however residents were aware that there would be less opportunities for schemes from this budget.
Councillor Wemyss wished to add a further resolution to carry on the work from his proposal last year to set aside £50,000 for additional parking spaces to be provided for tenants (with a mix of schemes such as verge hardening) therefore he wished this year for a budget of up to £250,000 to be found to extend this parking provision.
DECISIONS: The Cabinet Member for Housing approved the following:
(i) All rents and charges to be effective from 1st April 2017 or such other date as determined by the Director of Property and Housing Services in consultation with the Director of Finance and Information Services.
(ii) Dwelling rents for 2017/18 to be set as in accordance with Central Government's Social Rent Policy.
(iii) General Service charges for 2017/18 to be set at this meeting as set out in this report, and in accordance with Appendix 5.
(iv) Sheltered Housing Service charges for 2017/18 to be set at this meeting as set out in this report, and in accordance with Appendix 6.
(v) Laundry charges for 2017/18 to be set at this meeting as set out in this report, and in accordance with Appendix 7.
(vi) Heating charges to be set in accordance with Appendix 8.
(vii) Garages and parking site rents as shown on Appendix 9 be approved and authority to let garages at reduced rents where demand is low be delegated to the Director of Property and Housing Services in consultation with the Director of Finance and Information Services.
(viii) Revenue budgets for 2016/17 and 2017/18 as set out in Appendix 3 be approved and authority given to the Director of Property and Housing Services in consultation with the Director of Finance and Information Services to amend the budgets to reflect the latest available information prior to finalising budgets for 2017/18.
(ix) The relevant Managers be authorised to incur expenditure in 2017/18.
(x) The forecast Revenue Budgets for 2018/19 to 2020/21 as set out in Appendix 3 arising from the proposals contained in this report, be noted.
(xi) The Cabinet Member requested that up to £250,000 be made available within the Housing Revenue Account to be used to fund suitable parking schemes to provide additional parking in the Housing Area Estates.
 The average rent decreases were set out in Appendix 4 of the report
Report author: Nick Haverly
Publication date: 09/06/2017
Date of decision: 24/01/2017
Decided at meeting: 24/01/2017 - Cabinet Member for Housing