By Martin Shaw
COUNCIL tenants in Kirklees face an average rent rise of £1.22 a week for the rest of this year because of a blunder by housing chiefs.
Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, which runs council housing in the district, has admitted making an error in the calculation of bills.
Since April tenants have been charged too little as the full 5.9 per cent rent increase was not fully passed on.
KNH will now recoup the extra money over the rest of the year, meaning a shock rise for thousands of people.
Almost 7,000 tenants pay full rent and their bills will go up by an average of £1.22 a week.
Those who receive partial housing benefit will see a smaller rise while half of all tenants (11,500) on full housing benefit are unaffected.
KNH said the blunder came to light during financial checks and chief executive Simon Rogers said: “I want to apologise to all our tenants and to Kirklees Council for this mistake and to assure them that we will put it right.
“As soon as we discovered the error last week, we started an investigation to find out what happened and to make sure it never happens again. This is ongoing.
“The mistake meant that the rent bills sent out earlier this year did not reflect the full 5.9 per cent rent increase for 2011/12.
“This has resulted in a shortfall in our rental income of about one per cent of the amount we collect in a year – around £650k.”
Mr Rogers said services would not be affected and any shortfall would be met through increased savings or reserves.
He added: “We will be writing to all our tenants with correct rent bills for the remainder of the year, as well as reminding them of the support that is available should they have financial problems, and I will be writing to everyone personally to apologise.”
KNH will now report to a future meeting of Kirklees Council’s Cabinet to set out how they will recoup the money and explain how they will prevent any similar errors occurring the future.
Details of the help and support available to tenants will be included with the corrected rent bills, which will be sent out in the next few weeks.
Anyone with immediate concerns can contact KNH on 01484 414886.
COUNCIL tenants in Kirklees face an average rent rise of £1.22 a weekFriday 19th August 2011
By Martin Shaw