RENT hikes of more than £300 are on the way for thousands of social housing tenants across Sandwell.

Sandwell Council has proposed the maximum increase, which means that rent on all properties from bungalows to flats to houses would rise by at least £300 a year and nearly £400 from April. 

The average yearly increase for tenants paying full rent in bungalows would be £343 with rent for high-rise and low-rise tenants rising by £306 and £321 respectively.

The rent for a house would rise by £393 on average from April under the latest increases. 

The council said more than half of tenants would be affected by the hike.

The increases, which come at the same time the council is looking to increase council tax by five per cent next year, would hit most of the 26,600 social properties across Sandwell. 

The council said 18,600 of those households – or around 70 per cent of people – are on benefits, and pay partial rent, with around 12,100 of those receiving full benefits.

Those receiving full benefits would be unaffected by the price increases.

The rent increase would net the council around an extra £10 million – which it says would be used to maintain the existing homes and help build new ones.

Service charges – such as cleaning, laundry, gardening and security – have seen significant increases since a freeze in 2021/22 during the Covid pandemic where a 4.1 per cent increase in 2022/23 was followed by an 11.1 per cent increase this year.  Sandwell Council is now proposing another 7.7 per cent increase from April.

Sandwell Council said it had reduced housing rent by one per cent per year for four years between 2016 and 2020.

In 2019, the government announced it would allow councils to increase rent for social housing by the consumer price index plus another one per cent – and intended to keep the rules in place until at least 2025.

With high inflation last year – and the consumer price index standing at 10.1 per cent – the council could have imposed rent increases of 11.1 per cent until the government introduced a seven per cent cap for the 2023/4 financial year. Sandwell Council increased rent by five per cent for this year.