The government has promised further discussions with the housing
sector before setting out a new rent policy for the period beyond
2020 "in due course". The policy will help raise borrowing against
The recent Housing White Paper confirmed the government will
continue with its policy of reducing council and housing
association rents by 1% a year for the next three years but
promises an announcement "in due course" on a rent policy for
social housing landlords (both housing associations and local
authorities) for the period beyond 2020.
As we know, the government's previous social rent policy published in 2014
was based on a 10-year rent policy of rent increases of CPI &
1% from April 2015. However, this was overturned less than a year
later in George Osborne's summer Budget where he announced the
imposition of mandatory 1% annual rent reductions through to 2020;
causing significant problems for councils' Housing Revenue Account
Business Plans leading many to significantly reducing investment in
the housing stock and housing services.
We understand from discussions with DCLG officials at the last
ARCH Board meeting that the earliest likely date for an
announcement on a new social rent policy is this year's autumn
Budget. Therefore, we'll need to be prepared to make the case for
council housing in advance of any announcement.
ARCH and the NFA (National Federation of ALMOs) will be working
together to develop a common proposal on future council rents for
publication in September. We're in communication with the National
Housing Federation who are working to a similar timetable to firm
up a position on behalf of housing associations.
As part of this work we plan to publish a consultation paper
inviting councils' views on a range of options for future rents
We'll be writing to ARCH members in the next few weeks to seek
their views and will be consulting with the ARCH Tenants' Group in