Council tenants in West Lancashire who earn more than £31,000 a year may face increased rents from April 2017 under the government’s ‘pay to stay’ scheme.
While full details of pay to stay have not yet been announced by the government, West Lancashire Borough Council is taking steps to advise tenants that changes are in the pipeline.
Pay to stay will mean that tenants whose household income is over £31,000 will pay rent at market rates. When calculating household income, the income of tenants or joint tenants and their spouses or partners is taken into account, but not children’s income.
The new rules will apply to all tenants except those receiving housing benefit or universal credit. There is no exemption for pensioners. However the government has said that child benefit, Disability Living Allowance and tax credits will not count as household income for pay to stay.
It is estimated that up to 1,700 Council tenants in West Lancashire may be affected by the new rules and could face rent rises.
Councillor Jenny Patterson, portfolio holder for Housing and Landlord Services, said:
“The government has said that pay to stay will be introduced from April 2017. However, important details of how market rents are to be assessed, and other arrangements, have not yet been announced.
“As soon as we have more detailed information we will be writing to Council tenants to give them advice on how pay to stay will affect them.”