Mayor Philip Glanville says ‘pay to stay’ will be ‘bureaucratic nightmare’ for council tenants

Mayor Philip Glanville outside the town hall. (Picture: Garry Manhine).

Mayor Philip Glanville outside the town hall. (Picture: Garry Manhine). - Credit: Archant

Thousands of council tenants could face just weeks’ notice of 300 per cent rent hikes unless the government delays its “pay to stay” scheme, the town hall has warned.

Families with household incomes of more than £40,000 – two nurses or primary school teachers – will have to pay extra to remain in their home from April.

But the government has still not set out how the system will work or how rent will be collected.

Mayor Philip Glanville believes it’s at risk of becoming a shambles, as the town hall will have just months to write to 20,000 tenants asking for their income, calculate increases and give some their notice.

Families would then have barely any time to work out their finances, and if a tenant doesn’t respond to a request for information about their income, government rules say their rent could be increased to market level.

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For an average two-bedroom property in Hackney, that could mean an increase from council rent of £99.25 per week to market rent of £302.33.

Hackney, who will spend £500,000 on the system, is now calling for ministers to delay the policy for a year so families aren’t paying huge hikes they shouldn’t be.

Mayor Glanville, who previously claimed the scheme would be a “disincentive to aspiration”, fears rushing the system could lead to errors in calculating how much tenants pay.

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He said: “Not only is this tenant tax a damaging policy that will penalise low-paid working families, it is at risk of becoming a shambles as ministers rush to bring these changes without any idea of how the system will work.

“It could leave tenants already struggling to make ends meet facing a bureaucratic nightmare and the threat of huge increases in their rent with just a few weeks’ notice.

“The government simply cannot allow that to happen. At the very least, it should delay this unravelling policy for a year and put the proper measures in place to make sure families pay no more than they have to.

“The Housing and Planning Act will do nothing to ease London’s housing crisis or help those struggling to find a truly affordable place to live. That’s why I marched, campaigned and spoke out against it in Parliament, and we will continue to monitor its impact on residents in Hackney.”

For every pound a household in Hackney earns above £40,000, they will pay 15p a year more in rent up to market rate.

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