Brentwood Council is planning to increase rents for its tenants by almost eight per cent.

The proposed average rent increase of 7.7 per cent will result in an average weekly rent of £101.41 and an average weekly increase of £7.25 for flats.

It will lead to an average weekly rent of £125.35 and an average increase of £8.96 for houses.

The council is also set to increase council tax by 2.99 per cent for the coming year – increasing payments on an average band D property for Brentwood Council services to £210.70 from £204.58.

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Councillor Gareth Barrett said the social rents are still around a third of the open market rent rates.

He added the proposal to increase rent, in line with the funding formula provided by the government, will help support the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) which in turn will help fund new affordable housing and repairs.

He told the finance committee: “Not a single affordable house was built or finished in Brentwood last year, which makes investing in our affordable and social housing stock so important and so vital.

"I think it’s worth recognising yes that the rent increases are not necessarily at a level I would like in an ideal world but, for a four-bed home under the new rent increase for a social rent the average will be £701 a month, for an affordable rent it will be £1,123 a month.

“The cheapest four-bedroom house you can rent in Brentwood right now privately is £2,200.

“So even after these increases it will be half the market rate. That is an exceptionally positive figure for those tenants and actually we need to build more of those houses as a priority so that’s why this investment is essential.”

He also told the committee there isn't an easy way in investing in property building.

"We can’t just pump in money from the HRA from nowhere. It has to be self-funding and self-financing.

“Those are the rules, that is the reality.

“Our residents need affordable and sustainable housing. The best affordable and sustainable housing are provided by us as a local authority.”