12:20pm Saturday 7th April 2012
By James Nadal
A CAMPAIGNER who opposed the council housing sale in Wycombe says he is not surprised about a rent increase introduced this week but has described it as 'hefty'.
Over 6,700 homes in the district, including about 800 in Marlow, were transferred to new housing association Red Kite in December.
Red Kite said the increase is exactly the same as it would have been had Wycombe District Council retained the stock and is in line with national guidance.
The rise is calculated using the rate of inflation from September 2011, adding 0.5 per cent and up to £2 per week.
This depends on whether tenants are at the target rent – based on national averages.
Those who are already at the target rent will have a 6.1% increase applied.
The amounts are what was set out in the agreement last year.
Wycombe Defend Council Housing spokesman Paul Burnham, who fought hard to stop the sale, said: “I'm not surprised because increases are being dished out all over the country by both councils and housing associations.
“It does show the rents are increasing and it adds up to quite a hefty amount but they are not breaking the terms of what they promised.”
He added: “What's needed is for the council and people to monitor and hold Red Kite to account on the promises they did make.”
The lack of pay increases for workers and the economic climate make a rise wrong, he said, adding: “We need to go back to having fair rents.”
Booker tenant Den Biscoe, in his 70s, wrote to the Free Press, unhappy about the rise.
He said: “I had it in my mind that the rent wouldn't be put up straight away which it has been. They gave that impression because three or four people I spoke to said that.
He said the rent increase had been a hot topic among fellow tenants.
“They are very much disappointed with the rents going up,” he said.
Red Kite spokesman Zosia Katnik said: “Rent paid to Red Kite is used to manage, maintain and improve our homes and communities and we want to make sure that we do the best for our tenants so they you can enjoy living comfortably and safely in homes that are suitable for their needs.”
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