Gentoo’s tenants face rent increase

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GENTOO tenants will see rents rise by up to 6.1 per cent from the end of next month.

Letters will start hitting doormats across Sunderland tomorrow with details of rents that will apply from the beginning of April.

The average rent for Gentoo’s 29,548 properties in Sunderland is currently £65.57 per week and that will rise to £69.54, an increase of £3.97 a week – or 6.1 per cent.

Garage rents will increase by 5.1 per cent.

Gentoo says their rent levels are set in accordance with a Government formula which combines inflation over the last 12 months – as specified by Whitehall – with the need to bring rents in line with national target levels by the end of the new financial year.

John Craggs, gentoo deputy chief executive, said: “It is always hard to have to increase rents, especially in this difficult economic climate.

“Our rent levels are set by a Government formula that we apply as a regulatory requirement to reach a target rent level. The rent increase depends upon the inflation level that the Government prescribe.

“For rent increases in April 2011, the Government has stated a guideline increase of 5.1 per cent.

The Government formula also states that we can increase rents by a higher level in order to reach target rent levels.

“Some properties will have increases as low as two per cent and the average increase is six per cent. This was approved by our board in January. By April 2011, it is expected that over 95 per cent of our properties will have reached their target rent level.

“Any annual rent increase does go alongside our continued investment of more than £1million a week in people and property across the city.”

And the company say their rent increases are not as steep as other North East areas. North Tyneside are reportedly planning an 8.12 per cent price hike, Northumberland a 7.36 per cent increase and Newcastle an average rise of 7.2 per cent.

The maximum increase will be £6.98 per week and the minimum just 25p. In general, larger properties with more bedrooms are likely to see higher increases.

Properties in redevelopment areas will see their rents frozen next year.

All customers will be notified of their rent increase by the end of this month and reminded of the various services available to anyone struggling with payments.

Sunderland City Council will automatically be notified of rent levels to ensure Housing Benefit entitlement changes automatically from April.

John Craggs, Deputy Chief Executive, Gentoo Group said: 

“It is always hard to have to increase rents, especially in this difficult economic climate. Our rent levels are set by a Government formula that we apply as a regulatory requirement to reach a target rent level.  The rent increase depends upon the inflation level that the Government prescribe. 

 “For rent increases in April 2011, the Government has stated a guideline increase of 5.1%.  The Government formula also states that we can increase rents by a higher level in order to reach target rent levels.  

 “Some properties will have increases as low as 2% and the average increase is 6%. This was approved by our Board in January of this year.  By April 2011, it is expected that over 95% of our properties will have reached their target rent level.   

 “Any annual rent increase does go alongside our continued investment of more than £1million a week in people and property across the City.” 

“I would also like to reiterate that all customers may seek advice about entitlement to Housing benefit, this can be from Gentoo directly or through Sunderland City Council.”