Council tenants, who are considered to be rich, may face a rent hike after it has come to light that thousands of them are earning in excess of £50,000 per year while living in a subsidised social housing property.
Westminster Council is Conservative run, and they have has asked the coalition for new powers which would see them introduce a sliding scale which links social housing rents to the income of the tenant. This comes after the council were shocked to find they had 2,200 social housing tenants who earn over £50,000-a-year, and in excess of 200 who are earning over £100,000. Some of these tenants even have other buy to let properties which they protect with landlord insurance and get extra income from rent.
Philippa Roe, Westminster’s cabinet member for finance said “There are people living in highly subsidised housing here who you could not describe as vulnerable any more. Some of these people have a second house in the country or a villa in Spain. Many of those on £100,000 or more are paying rents of £97 a week for a one bedroom flat, or £110 per week for a two bedroom place”
The council feel that a new formula needs to be applied which would see a tenant paying 35% or 40% of their net income on accommodation which is equal to the national average. Under the new proposal, a tenant on £50,000 per year would see their rent double. They also want to change the rule that says once someone has a council tenancy they are allowed to stay for life, and the property can be also be passed on to their children. The council want to change this because there are 17,000 families on the waiting list for a home in Westminster alone. Other authorities are waiting to see if the system is changed before following suit.