The Government required Housing Associations and Councils to reduce the social housing rents by 1% each year for four years from 2016. This requirement has now ended and in April 2020 we will be applying a rent increase for the first time since 2015.
The rent deduction was good news for tenants but this has had a big financial impact, meaning as an organisation we had around £1.6 million less in income over the four years.
We made changes to the way we delivered services and had to make some staff redundant all so that we could protect services that we know are valued most by our tenants. For example we continued to replace kitchens and boilers whilst also keeping our promise of a minimum investment of £500k per year in the Castle Vale Community Pledge – this delivers services such as CCTV and helps Compass Support deliver things like family support and youth work. Further information about the Community Pledge is attached with this letter.
The upcoming rent increase will ensure The Pioneer Group can continue to provide great, safe homes and invest in Castle Vale’s strong, vibrant community. In April we will also be launching a new repairs service, which will deliver an improved service to tenants and we will continue to invest in fire safety measures to deliver our priority of keeping tenants safe.
In recent years, The Pioneer Group has absorbed over £170k of additional service charges such as gardening and contract cleaning in communal areas. However, to achieve service standards and business excellence, we will be increasing services charges, to properties that incur these, at a maximum of £2.50 per week.
Your new rent details from April 2020 are detailed your rent statement. If you feel that you will struggle to pay the proposed increase, please do not hesitate to get in touch so that we can refer you to Spitfire Services for Money Advice and budgeting support.