SHAC and partners are demanding that government holds social rents, shareholder rents, and service charges at current levels. Two protests were held outside the Department for Levelling up (14th September and 6th October) demanding a freeze on social rents and service charges, plus, a new eviction ban to stop those unable to pay from losing their homes.
An outsized letter was handed over to the Secretary of State, Simon Clarke, and was subsequently re-issued to Michael Gove who has taken over the Department for Levelling up.
See full article and photos on the SHAC blog
See the Inside Housing report on the protest and prospect of mass non-payment
Campaign’s Partial Success
The campaign is moving government. In August, the Department for Levelling Up announced that it will not raise social rents above 7%, and is more likely to set the cap at 5%, but we don’t believe that this is low enough.
We will not win through pleading alone. We are therefore supporting tenants and residents to withhold any increase applied from April.
In our video below, tenants and residents explain why they support the campaign and why they are withholding payment.
Names will not be published We will report the number of signatories overall and per landlord.
Unaffordable to Tenants and Residents
The amount that housing associations can raise rents is decided by government every November when it announces the formula to be used. In 2022, the formula was based on the September Consumer Price Index figure plus 1% (CPI+1). A repeat of this formula will mean increases of around 10% or more to be applied from April 2023. CPI was 9.4% in July 2022 and trending upwards. There is no cap on the amount housing associations can charge for services.
In August 2022, government announced that is scrapping the traditional formula for social rent rises, which will now not exceed 7%, but remains silent on service charges and shared owner rents.
People are already struggling and cannot afford higher bills.
I recently retired and was told my income is over what the government says you can live on. I am £1.50 over the limit, I don’t even qualify for the energy payment. I have no idea how I’m going to live with all this. I have a war disablement pension, it’s £40 a week, and if I hadn’t got that, well, I’d be joining the hundreds of homeless on the streets”Bob, social housing tenant
The rising cost of living means that people are already managing tightly squeezed budgets. Households cannot not absorb further rent and service charge rises at any level.
Unaffordable to the Taxpayer
Government’s own reporting shows that in 2020/21, around three million households had their rents and service charges covered by Universal Credit. Of these, around 1 million households were in housing association properties.
Housing associations were paid at leaset £10 billion last year by the taxpayer in respect of Housing Benefit / Universal Credit; a direct transfer of taxpayers’ money to landlords. A 10% increase would therefore take another £1bn out of essential public funds.
The housing association sector has a collective operating surplus of around £4.4 billion.
At a time when public services are being squeezed to the limit, it is inexcusable to transfer an even larger proportion of our taxes to housing associations.
The campaign is supported by Unite the Union, The New Economics Foundation, The Radical Housing Network, and Homes for All.
You Can Help
Use the QR code to spread the word about the pledge to friends, family, and neighbours.
Add one of the messages below as a ‘PS’ on your email signature:
There should be no rent or service charge rises in a cost-of-living crisis! I’ve signed The Pledge and will not pay any rent or service charge increases from April 2023. You can view the Pledge here.
There should be no rent or service charge rises in a cost-of-living crisis! I’ve signed The Pledge to show my solidarity with those who go on rent/service charge strike. You can view the Pledge here
30 July 2022
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