COUNCIL house tenants across Wrexham look set to face rent increases of 4.3 per cent over the coming year.
Wrexham Council has promised the additional funds will be spent on ‘repairs and improvement’ to its 11,300 properties across the county.
These improvements – including fitting of new kitchens, heating systems and triple-glazing – are set to take place in 2014-15 on a ward-by-ward basis in alphabetical order.
The recommendation for the rent increase will be discussed and voted on at a meeting of the council’s executive board on Tuesday. The increases mean the average council house rent in Wrexham would rise to £74.50 from April, based on a 52-week contract.
Cllr Mark Pritchard, lead member for housing and planning, said they had little choice but to accept the recommendations, outlined in a Welsh Government proposal.
“The Welsh Government sets us a guideline figure and we have little choice but to comply with it, otherwise there will be financial penalties for the council,” he said.
“We are investing heavily in all 11,300 of our properties here in Wrexham - everything from triple-glazing to new guttering.
“We are seeing massive capital investment in Wrexham housing.”
Wrexham Council, along with all Welsh councils, has been set goals to achieve the Welsh Quality Housing Standard by 2020. It is hoped the council’s £33.9 million
Housing Improvement Programme – with replacements of kitchens, bathrooms and heating across the borough – will bring the area up to speed.
Council leader Neil Rogers said the authority had to agree to the increases or face a financial penalty from the Welsh Government, such as the one incurred in 2008 after a freeze on rent across the county.
“In 2008 we decided to freeze increases and the following year we just ended up with an additional two per cent increase compared with every other local authority, so we’ve no choice but to comply,” he said.
“We believe we have an excellent housing scheme and we’ll keep making improvements.”