SOCIAL Development Minister, Nelson McCausland has approved a rent increase of around £2.12 per week for Northern Ireland Housing Executive tenants.
The 3.6% increase, effective from 1 April 2013, brings average rents to £60.90 a week excluding rates. Housing Executive rents are around £20 a week less than the average rent for similar local authority accommodation in England, £12 less than those in Wales and on a par with those in Scotland.
While the average rents for local authority homes in Scotland are also lower than other parts of the UK, there is a wide variation between individual Councils and approximately 45% of these properties fail the Scottish equivalent of the Decent Homes Standard compared to 15% for Housing Executive homes.
The Housing Executive stock is regarded as the best social housing in the UK, and rental income for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive needs to be sufficient to maintain accommodation at the standard expected by tenants and allow for adequate investment in the stock.
Almost 80% of tenants receive full or partial housing benefit support towards their rent.