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Response to Pay to Stay DCLG consultation

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Pay to Stay. How can we achieve fairer rents in social housing?

This Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) consultation considers the Government’s initiative to increase rent for social housing tenants to market rent levels, for households with incomes of £40,000 and above in London, and £30,000 and above in the rest of England.

This initiative will build on the current ‘pay to stay’ policy which is available to local authority and housing associations to operate voluntarily. This consultation focuses on proposals for a system of ‘tapers’ that would tie rent levels more closely to income.

In this consultation we urge the Government to consider instating a stepped transitional period of twelve months before the Pay to Stay changes come into effect to allow financially vulnerable households to gradually adjust to changes in their rental costs.

The Government should also consider a shallow taper rate to increase the rent paid as the household’s income increases to protect those closest to the thresholds.

Alongside this, we urge the Government to increase minimum income thresholds, and tie these to local rental costs to protect financially vulnerable households in ‘high rent’ areas. The Minimum Income Standard for a couple with two children is £40,048 (according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation), thus above the proposed thresholds.

Finally, we urge the Government to consider removing the statutory requirement for landlords to implement a Pay to Stay scheme; as is the case currently, local landlords best understand the impact of raising rental costs to council or housing association tenants.

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