Andium Homes had already agreed to postpone this year’s annual increase after the cost of living rose by 5.25 per cent.
Rent increases have previously been determined on social housing as the rate of RPI plus 0.75 per cent.
However, Housing Minister Sam Mézec has signed a ministerial decision which would set maximum and minimum levels for the annual rent hike.
From next year, increases would continue to go up by RPI plus 0.75 per cent – but the level of RPI would be restricted to between 1.75 per cent and 3.25 per cent. This means that when inflation rockets the maximum increase would be four per cent, while there would be a minimum 2.5 per cent hike each year.
Senator Mézec said: ‘I am pleased that, with the agreement of Andium Homes and the Treasury Minister [Susie Pinel], we have been able to introduce a cap on the level at which rents can be raised.
‘It was clear that, with inflation at a higher rate than was expected this year, the old system would not be fair for tenants, who would have seen a 5.25% rise in rents. In line with the government’s strategic priorities, work will continue next year with a new Housing Policy Development Board to examine further work we can undertake to review our rent policies.’
And during a Scrutiny hearing this week, Senator Mézec revealed that a policy development board was being set up to look at issues within the housing market. He said he wanted to review the 90 per cent market rate charges on social housing.
The minister also said that he wanted to provide more help for Islanders facing homelessness and was working with the Health and Social Security ministers – Deputies Richard Renouf and Judy Martin – to create a ‘multi-agency approach to provide support’.
He said: ‘I have had people speak to me who have been incredibly worried because they can see homelessness is on the horizon.
‘We need to do all we can to engage with the different agencies to provide support – whether that is charities, Andium Homes, parts of the Health Department – we have to do what we can to get people into suitable accommodation. I want to put together a homelessness strategy.’