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Council rents set to reduce from April 

TENANTS of Rugby Borough Council properties could see their rents reduce by one per cent from next April, according to a report presented to the council's Cabinet.

This would see average weekly rents reduce from £84.06 per week to £83.22 per week, with service charges set to stay roughly the same where applicable.

The update report, considered by Cabinet at its meeting held on 28 November, outlines progress on preparations for the 2017/18 financial year, and how changes in government policy may affect the council's Housing Revenue Account.

Further proposals listed include heating upgrades for around 230 properties, new bathrooms in around 110 properties and new kitchens for around 220 properties. The council will aim to buy 12 properties on the open market to rent to council tenants, reinvesting in housing where properties have been bought under the Right to Buy.

While tenants will benefit from the rent cut and investment in properties, the reduced income will mean that maintenance and management costs will have to be reduced by around £500,000 per year. This will be achieved through reduced materials stockholding and more efficient buying practices, better use of vehicles and other resources, and changes to the way the council works with suppliers.

Cllr Leigh Hunt, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for communities and homes, said: "There is still a degree of uncertainty around how government policies such as the end of lifetime tenancies will affect tenants here in Rugby.

"Nevertheless tenants will be pleased to hear that we are planning to reduce rents by a further one per cent next year, and that we still intend to invest in our homes.

"Better heating, new kitchens and bathrooms, and more council-owned homes, will mean better energy efficiency and improved living standards for more Rugbeians."

The Housing Revenue Account budget will be set at a special meeting of the council to be held in February 2017.

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