On the 18th December 2019, Welsh Government published a five-year rent policy settlement which provides greater certainty for the sector and, to some extent, tenants. This is our response:
We welcome the Minister’s statement on the rent policy settlement and recognise that a 5-year rent period will provide some greater certainty to the sector and to some extent tenants.
Whilst we believe that using tenant satisfaction surveys will be beneficial for scrutiny purposes, tenants require greater transparency and engagement in wider strategic decision-making.
In particular, if tenants are to be charged at a rate higher than current CPI levels, then tenants must also be afforded a much stronger voice in the decision-making process to determine what value for money they can expect when paying these higher rates. We would like to see a stronger commitment from all social landlords to ensure tenants’ views are reflected in rent-setting decisions and in decisions on service charge levels, which many tenants tell us are of increasing concern in terms of affordability.
We would also welcome the publication of explicit value for money statements justifying any rent and service charge increases, enabling tenants to challenge and hold their landlord to account for services they pay for - something referred to in the Affordable Housing Review report.
We support the Minister’s commitment to delivering high quality homes and DQR space standards across tenure and feel this is a much-needed commitment for tenants within the private rental sector as well as those in social housing. Similarly, the aspiration that all new built housing, regardless of tenure, achieves EPC A will minimise fuel poverty and enable tenants to thrive in their homes ensuring a more sustainable Wales.