Bristol City Council has confirmed that it will not be adopting the ‘Pay to Stay’ policy which looks to charge higher income council tenants more money to stay in their homes.
In the 2015 budget the government announced plans to increase rents for all council tenants with incomes over £30,000 a year. The policy, known as ‘Pay to Stay’, was expected to start in April 2017.
The policy was based on the view that social housing should be for those most in need and tenants who had higher levels of household income should pay more – up to the full market rent.
The extra rent collected would have to be passed to the government and would not be invested in improving homes or building new housing within Bristol.
Bristol City Council, along with many other housing organisations, raised concerns that the scheme would not raise the money that the government was predicting, would penalise families on moderate incomes, and would also be costly to administer.
All tenants including pensioners would have to be ‘means tested’ even though very few would end up paying a higher rent.
On November 21 the government announced that the scheme would be voluntary and local authorities could choose whether or not to adopt it.
Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities said: “We are pleased that the Government has moved from making the ‘Pay to Stay’ rules compulsory.
“Bristol City Council does not want to penalise council tenants for being successful in their work and careers, and will not be charging working tenants a full market rent.”