Branch Secretary :

Housing association tenants protest rent increases

Refusing to pay increase


The housing association tenants and resident group SHAC has called a protest on Saturday 9th June, Cut the rents, end rip off service charging. Groups of tenants have already decided to refuse to pay the increases.



Last week’s statement from Chancellor Sunak was greeted with horror across the political spectrum. Both Shelter and Crisis rightly pointed to the threat of rising homelessness because of the failure to protect families from the cost-of-living crisis. Commentaries in the pro-business Financial Times speak of Sunaks failure to address the hit to living standards and his cynicism. The Tory Daily Express headline read “The forgotten millions say: what about us?”


“Very much welcome”


Bur this was not the view from the Chief Executive of Britain’s biggest housing association. Clare Miller said “We very much welcome the government’s commitment today to help families with the cost of living. The impact of these rising costs is being felt particularly hard by those living in our homes.”


Some housing CEOs made less outrageous statements, but it is no surprise that Millers comments were met with outrage on internet forums used by tenants and housing associations residents. Outrage but not a surprise. The statement was not out of character.


Bills soar


Clarion’s contribution to the hit to living standards that their residents face is to increase social rent by the maximum permitted 4.1% and to introduce higher increases to rents that are not covered by the regulations on social rent. They say most shared ownership rents will rise by 5.4%.


A survey of members of the social housing resident’s organisation SHAC gives an indication of the impact of increases in rents and service charges. A tenth of respondents say their bills will go up between 7% and 10%. Shockingly, 5% of respondents have been informed that their rents will soar by more than 10%.


A Clarion resident commented, “The increase will contribute to a dramatic shift in my current living costs especially when combined with an increase in energy bills, council tax and other household bills.”




Of course, Clarion is also one of several housing associations hitting the headlines for slum conditions in some of its estates. As we have previously reported associations such as Riverside have responded to increasing legal claims over disrepair issues by covertly lobbying to reduce tenants’ ability to access legal redress.


The big housing associations increasingly treat their staff with the ruthlessness you might expect from ‘for profit’ corporate landlords. They say they decide to increase their rents after deep consideration - but they then all increase them by the maximum they are allowed to. It looks like the same sort of consideration they give to offering staff sub inflation pay increases while paying senior executives inflation busting increases.


Corporate landlordism


Associations have also lobbied for increases by more than inflation for the next thirty years - that would mean a further increase in real terms rents of 30% But no association seems to have bothered explained why they need this. They say they need to have their surplus in order to build more homes but the new homes they built are generally more expensive tenures not social rent.


If they were straight 'for profit' corporate landlords in what way would the decisions be different? We need democratic control over associations; run them as if residents and communities mattered rather than bondholders and financial institutions. Unite housing workers supports tenants in their fight and will support Saturday’s demo.


Protest Sarurday April 9th - at 12.00 2 Marsham Street, SW1P 4DF




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