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Peterborough UK
23:18 on Friday
1 March 2002

Herald & Post

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Council rent rise fears dispelled


Fears that thousands of Peterborough residents could face big rent increases if Peterborough City Council decides to sell its housing stock have been discounted by a leading local housing association.

News that the city council was considering a range of options for the future ownership and management of its 11,400 homes prompted fears that rents could rise dramatically if the housing stock was sold to a private company.

The council is investigating several options for its houses after a recent survey revealed that repairs and maintenance - such as rewiring, renewing central heating, replacing windows and re-roofing - would cost £60 million over the next 20 or 30 years.

Among the ideas being considered by the council are: selling the houses to a private company; forming a partnership with housing associations; creating its own housing company; and retaining its existing management structure.

However, Tim Hawkes, chief executive of Minster General Housing Association, which owns around 1,600 homes throughout the region, sought to quell residents’ fears about any potential sell-off scheme involving a housing association.

“Minster’s rents are actually lower than the average charged by the city council,” he said. “So any management scheme that involves local housing associations could well result in rents being held down rather than being forced up.

“The government is introducing a new rent re-structuring process that will affect both local authorities and housing associations.

“The proposals will seek to standardise all social housing sector rents over a ten year period and limit rent increases to the inflation rate plus 0.5 per cent, so that will also prevent excessive rent rises.

“Minster has 25 years’ experience in providing low-cost rented accommodation for local people and we would welcome an opportunity to work with the city council on the future management of its estates.

“We consistently score well on national performance tables for the efficient management of our properties so existing tenants should have nothing to fear.”

Mr Hawkes said that if the council did decide to sell its housing portfolio the price would take into account the cost of essential repairs and maintenance.

April 2001

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Contact:
Tim Hawkes
Minster General Housing Association 
Tel: 01733 349800

Minster General Housing Associations

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