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Pay to stay

The government has announced plans to increase rents for council tenants with incomes over £31,000 a year.

This is known as “Pay to Stay”, and is expected to start in April 2017 for council tenants.

For council tenants, Pay to Stay means that if your household income is more than £31,000 a year, we will have to increase your rent.

We will have to give any extra rent we collect from Pay to Stay tenants to the government. We will not be able to invest it in improving your home or building new housing.

Pay to Stay is part of the Housing and Planning Act 2016. Before Pay to Stay comes into effect, the government will make regulations which set out how it will work and when it will start. These regulations have not been published yet.

The government has published a briefing paper which gives some indication how Pay to Stay is likely to work:

  • If you get housing benefit or Universal Credit, you will be exempt from Pay to Stay
  • Once your household income is above £31,000 a year, your rent will increase by 15 pence for every pound above this threshold. For each £1,000 extra in household income, this means your rent will increase by £2.88 a week - that is, £12.50 a month or £150 a year.
  • There will be an upper limit on how much rent you will pay, based on market rents. The details of how market rents are calculated have not yet been announced by the government.
  • Household income means the income of tenants or joint tenants and their spouses and partners – if you have other people living in your home (for example, adult children), their income will not count towards the £31,000 limit
  • The government has said that child benefit, Disability Living Allowance and tax credits will not count as part of your household income for Pay to Stay
  • The government is considering how to take changing income into account, for example if your spouse or partner dies, or if you lose your job
  • If you do not tell us about your household income, we may be able to charge you rent at or close to the level you would pay if you rented from a private landlord. If this happens, we will be able to reduce your rent to the correct amount once you give us your household income details
  • The government is unlikely to exempt pension age people from Pay to Stay. However it has said that it is thinking about how to treat some types of pension income under Pay to Stay.

We will update this page when more information is available about how Pay to Stay will operate.

The government has said that Pay to Stay will be voluntary for housing associations. If you are a housing association tenant, you should ask your landlord whether they intend to bring in Pay to Stay.