Council clarifies annual rent collection practice in wake of misleading comment in House of Keys

| March 10, 2014 | 0 Comments
Douglas Borough Council’s housing and property advisory committee chairman Councillor David Ashford. Picture Andrew Barton

The chairman of Douglas Borough Council’s housing and property advisory committee Councillor David Ashford has made it clear that Council tenants are charged rent for 52 weeks.

The clarification was prompted by a comment made in the House of Keys on Tuesday March 4th and broadcast by Manx Radio which implied tenants in local authority housing were charged rent for only 50 weeks of the year.

Councillor Ashford said: ‘Although factually correct the comment was misleading and has given rise to calls to our housing section from concerned private householders questioning why tenants in social housing do not pay a full year’s rent.

‘Let me make it quite clear. While the Council does collect rent over 50 weeks in the year it is not the case that it only charges tenants for 50 weeks’ rent. Tenants pay rent for 52 weeks but that rent is collected over a 50-week period. As the letter the housing section will be issuing to all tenants this month clearly states the total annual payment – rent, rates, water rates and the new sewerage charge – is charged for 52 weeks then divided by 50.

‘I would add that the statement made in the House of Keys that “there are 50 weeks in a local authority year as far as rent is being paid” failed to point out that not all local authorities choose to adopt that practice. Douglas is one of seven local authorities collecting rent over 50 weeks; Braddan and Ramsey collect their rents over 52 weeks.

‘I am happy to set the record straight on these potentially emotive issues, for while the government’s policy of openness and transparency is to be commended, such a policy can only be truly effective when supported by robust, accurate information.’

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