A big tenant meeting at Camden Town Hall rejected a £7.40 average weekly rent rise, and a £2.40 increase in heating charges.

The well-attended joint meeting on January 5th, of tenant-led District Management committees, said No to the 8.1% rent increase, which is well above inflation. As well as rent and heating, Camden Council are proposing increases to service charges (+8%), parking (+5.6%), sheds (+£3) and more charges for caretaking services.

Camden Fed issued the following statement before the meeting:

We are alarmed at the proposed 8.1% (average £7.40) a week rent increase, combined with increases to service and other charges.

Many tenants cannot afford these rises given that wages are decreasing, benefits are being cut or held to a 5.6% increase, public sector pay is frozen and many pensions and other fixed incomes are falling.

We believe that these proposed rent increases should be opposed and call on Camden Council to consider and implement lower rent rises.

These should be combined with joint deputations of tenants and councillors, to the Mayor of London and to Government, to demand the promised funding to meet the council housing capital works backlog. If Government can continue to write off Housing HRA debt for stock transfer then we should insist on a similar write-off of debts which have been paid many times over through rent and receipts siphoned off by government.”

Cambridge tenants and councillors are also opposing high rent rises. Cambridge Council has written to the Government saying:

Cambridge City Council would strongly implore that CLG consider the application of an adjustment similar to that made in 2009, using a lower level of inflationary increase in the calculation of the guideline rent, resulting in a reduction in the level of debt that each local authority can support. This will also allow for a lower rent increase in April 2012 for social housing tenants in light of the current financial pressures, particularly on low earning working families.”