The Housing Department has today, Thursday 6th May 2021, issued a notice on the increase of rent on Government flats. Rent will be increased by 3% with effect from 1st July 2021.
The new rent will be contained in the bill that tenants will receive in mid-July.
In June 2017, the Housing Act was amended in Parliament to make provision for the variation of rent of Government rental stock annually. This amendment was supported unanimously by all the Parliament, with both the support of Government and Opposition. All parties indicated their approval for the Bill before this was debated and voted on in Parliament to make legal provision for the annual increase in rent. It was then expressed by all Members of Parliament to be a prudent and sensible measure given the period in which no increases had been effected.
Prior to this increase, rent on Government stock had not been increased at all since 1983, not even to reflect inflation over a period of 34 years.
Since the above amendment to the Housing Act in 2017, there was a 3% rent increase in 2018 and 2019 although 2020 did not see an increment in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and HMGoG’s commitment to support members of the community through such exceptionally challenging times.
The adjustment is considered to be fair on tenants as well as providing some re-balancing in favour of the general tax payer, despite the increases being so modest that they do not fully adjust for the effects of inflation over the above mentioned period.
At the time of the amendment to the Housing Act in 2017, it was noted that the modest increases would continue on an annual basis in a manner that would nonetheless remain considerably below where they would have been if they had increased consistently in line with inflation.
The Minister for Housing, the Hon Steven Linares MP, said: “This is just a modest increase which will assist in gaining some ground to rebalancing the overall housing budget. Rents in government rental accommodation are extremely low and yet the amount spent by HM Government is very high. Last year’s 3% increase did not happen due to COVID-19 and consideration needs to be taken for future increases to continue rebalancing the housing budget”.