Tenants to see rent increase

News from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news, @peterboroughtel on Twitter
News from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news, @peterboroughtel on Twitter
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Tenants in Cross Keys Homes properties in Peterborough will have their rent increased from next month.

Tenants of Cross Keys Homes will pay an average rent increase of £2.47 a week from April which is an increase of 3.1%.

The increase meets the Government’s requirements for housing association and council rents to be similar in the same areas of the country.

The increases are determined by the retail price index (RPI) in September which was 2.6% plus 0.5%.

Bosses at the firm say that their rents remain on average lower than other Peterborough social landlords and significantly below private landlords in the area.

Mick Leggett, Chief Executive of Cross Keys Homes, said: “We know these are difficult times for many people financially.

“Any increase in costs for tenants could cause them problems so we have been considering how we can support them through the Government’s Welfare Reform changes, rent increases and other day to day rises in the cost of living.

“We have trained our staff to be able to offer welfare benefit and money management advice to our tenants.

“We have also produced leaflets and newsletters about the changes that may affect tenants and our mobile showroom will be visiting a number of locations throughout Peterborough over the next couple of months.

“This will provide a drop in service for anyone who might have questions or want to talk about financial concerns. Our message to tenants is that if you are having problems in paying your rent - talk to us.

“As a responsible landlord we are committed to investing in local communities and homes. In 2011/12 we spent £9.3 million, ensuring our 10,000 tenants’ homes were maintained to satisfactory standards.

“We have also invested £400,000 in providing the support our tenants need to improve their lives and their environment through neighbourhood projects directly planned and managed by tenants. Plus we continue to run our award wining Working 4 U clubs to help people into work.

“As a not-for-profit organisation we continue to invest in affordable homes for future generations. We have delivered 613 new-build houses already and we will be delivering another 600 new homes over the next three years to help tackle the housing crisis in Peterborough.

“In order to try to alleviate the rising costs of utilities our tenants are experiencing, we have done a lot of work over the last year to address fuel poverty through our ‘energy matters’ campaign which has helped people to switch to lower energy tariffs and install energy saving gadgets. We are also about to start installing photovoltaic panels (PV) to those properties that are suitable.

“These panels will generate free electricity during the day and should help our tenants to save up to £200 per year in electricity costs. We hope to install panels to around 3000 homes over the next few months.

“In addition where we cannot fit the panels due to for example shading or the orientation of their property, we are looking to install voltage regulators that will mitigate the effects or changes in voltage and hopefully also reduce electricity costs for those homes where we cannot install PV panels.

“Only by investing in these ways can we ensure that we continue providing high customer satisfaction which is currently at 93% and continue to help the community as a whole.”