This summary information has been gathered from tenants who attended recent Tenants Networks/events or via tenants’ comments on social media

4 things tenants are telling us about…………..Rent setting

Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard the following from tenants who’ve shared their experience around rent setting with us.  This summary information has been gathered from tenants who attended recent Tenants Networks/events or via tenants’ comments on social media.

Tenants are telling us:

  1. That they are concerned that Landlords did not consult with or have discussions with the wider body of their tenants prior to setting the rent level for the 2023-2024 financial year.

One landlord set up a focus group of a small number of tenants and another landlord used a Tenant Focus Group to share information about proposed rent increases, but in neither case were the wider body of tenants given information or the chance to comment.      

Generally, letters were sent out to tenants advising them that there would be a rent increase from 1st April 2023. 

TPAS Cymru’s thoughts: Consultation and discussions with tenants about affordability and rent setting is a Welsh Government requirement (click the link here) and Landlords are required to complete the Self Certification Monitoring Template.  

Apart from Welsh Government’s requirement above, sharing information and consulting with tenants helps build trust and relationships between landlord and tenants.                                                                                                         

  1. Similar to point 1 above, tenants are worried that landlords did not give detailed information about rent increase options and the potential impact on services of those different rent levels.  E.g. If rents aren’t increased this will be the impact on the services we provide; if rents increase by 3% this is likely to impact on certain services; if rents increase by the maximum 6.5% allowed…etc.                                                      

TPAS Cymru’s thoughts: This detail of information allows tenants to be able to make a considered decision when asked for their views around any proposed increases in rent. It also shows a landlord’s desire to be open and transparent with tenants about protection of services.   

  1. There was unease that letters didn’t explain why and how rents had been ‘set’ at that particular level i.e. tenants were just advised what the rent increase would be.  Similarly, landlords didn’t give any information about any consultation/sharing of information with tenants prior to any decision on rent increases.

A couple of landlords we heard about did include contact information about support/advice for tenants in financial difficulty in the rent setting letters, but there’s concern that these appear to be the exception to the rule.

TPAS Cymru’s view: it’s good practice for Landlords to give detailed information in their Rent letters explaining why rents have been increased and how the decision was reached e.g. who did the landlord consult with? etc.
It would also be prudent for landlords to provide contact details/information for tenants who were experiencing financial difficulties.

  1. That there are concerns that tenants had not been told by their landlords how the impact of rent increases (on tenants) would be monitored over the year.   

TPAS Cymru’s view: although it’s not a requirement from Welsh Government, we would suggest that it’s good practice that Landlords monitor the impact any rent increase has on their tenants.  This would enable landlords to offer proactive support to tenant and limit the level of arrears.  This two-way communication between landlord and tenants also helps to build a relationship and trust between both.