Marsh Calls on Ministers to Decide If Rents Should Fall in Line with RPI

By Merrick, Neil | Public Finance, March 27, 2009 | Go to article overview

Marsh Calls on Ministers to Decide If Rents Should Fall in Line with RPI


Merrick, Neil, Public Finance


Ministers are being urged by the regulator for social housing to decide quickly if they will allow rents to fall next year in line with inflation.

Peter Marsh, chief executive of the Tenant Services Authority, told delegates at the National Housing Federation finance conference that he accepted landlords needed 'certainty' on whether their rental income was likely to drop in 2010. But he declined to back the NHF 's call for a 'rent floor' beyond which rents cannot fall, regardless of the retail price index.

Under a government formula, rent rises for councils and housing associations are based on the RPI the previous September. This year, councils were allowed to raise rents by less than the formula, but most associations have increased them by about 5.5%, well above the current RPI level of zero.

Marsh told the conference at Warwick University that he understood why registered social landlords wanted a rent floor to protect future income.

But he added that tenants had the right to benefit from low inflation. Tm pressing the government for an early decision,' he said.

When it was pointed out that RSLs set up following stock transfers had promised ex-council tenants that their rent rises would not exceed those imposed by local authorities, he urged associations to look at the issue over 'two to three years'. …

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