In 2016, Genesis Housing Association (GHA) start making applications to the Rent Officer for rent increases of up to 60% for some secure tenants. We understand from Genesis that they still have some 2,000 secure tenancies.
Of those that we know about, rent rises can go as high as 177%, but we assume that some rises are higher. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has written that the rises: ‘may be higher than expected increases but not 57%.’ `This is clearly incorrect.
Genesis has refused to meet with secure tenants or disclose information about secure tenant rent rises.
Older tenants in the firing line
By definition these secure rent tenants are normally older tenants on fixed incomes or savings. They are obviously not in a position to absorb large rent increases
“I am one of those affected, being 71 years’ old, a secure tenant in same flat since 1986. MASSIVE rent increases – In June this year Genesis applied to have my rent increased by 46.23%…[the rent officer] increased my rent by 34.43% I personally don’t know of any landlord who can ask for 34.43% let alone 46.23%”
“I have been a tenant now for 37 years and had no notification of such a hefty rise. My rent has just been registered as a rise of £51 per week but Genesis wrote telling me it will go up £31 pw this year and the full amount next year. I really think that is very unfair.
” I don’t know what Genesis is up to. In August 2015 Genesis asked the Rent Officer to put up my rent by 10% to £109 per week. In October 2015 the Rent Officer said they had made a technical mistake in the form – they put the wrong start date of my tenancy! Then nothing from Genesis until April 2016 when they asked the Rent Officer to put the rent up by 57%, – up to £156.48 per week! Why did Genesis have to apply for 57% and not the original 10% increase they had asked for previously? The Rent Officer pushed my rent up to £124 per week, which is an increase of 25% in one go.”
Other Housing Associations do not apply the same policy
Genesis has argued that they are merely applying the law. But, If Genesis is correct that their policy follows the law, then all other housing associations would be following the same policy. This is not the case. Other London housing associations similar to Genesis apply rent caps for secure tenants – including rent cuts of 1%.
London and Quadrant state on their web page explaining Fair Rent increases that: “Each year the Fair Rent charged is compared to target rent and increased to move towards it at a rate restricted to RPI 0.5% plus £2 per week in any one year. When the target rent is reached, annual increases must not exceed RPI +0.5%.”
The Hyde Group explanation is short and pithy: “Secure Tenancies: -1.00%”