COUNCIL leaders will be asked to approve proposals for an inflation-busting annual rent increase on the borough’s properties.
The major hike is designed to ensure Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) can continue to invest in its property portfolio through maintenance and improvement schemes.
The report recommends an average rent increase of 6.15 per cent to be brought in from April, 2014.
For the average householder, this would see a rise from £74.38 to £78.95 per week.
For properties already achieving target rents, the annual rent increase is 3.7 per cent.
The report, which is set to go before the council’s executive committee next Wednesday, also recommends no increase in garage charges, no increase to the 600 users of the Lifeline service and no increase on shop rental charges, with a 3.2 per cent increase in management charges for leaseholders.
Executive member for growth and innovation, Cllr Herbert Manley, said: “At the end of March 2013, the council was looking at a situation where more than 40 per cent of its 5,600 properties needed significant maintenance and improvement.
“We are dedicated to bringing all of our properties up to an acceptable standard. With the five-year plan in place, that figure has already reduced to 35 per cent and it will continue to go down year on year from now on.
“The standard for vacant property lets has been raised considerably following agreement with tenant representatives and all empty properties are now benefiting from significant works including re-wiring and bathroom and kitchen refurbishments where necessary.
“The annual rental increase will help us to ensure that this can continue to happen, for the benefit of residents.
It will also allow loans taken out to carry out the works which will be paid back within the 30-year timeframe.
“In the future, we hope to see any surplus funding ploughed back into social rented, affordable and low-cost housing to help households, reduce the pressure on waiting lists and help to reduce fuel bills and fuel poverty.”
See full story in the Chester Leader