Camden Council is to consult the borough’s tenants’ groups on plans to whack up their service charges.
District management committees (DMCs) for Hampstead, Camden Town, Holborn, Gospel Oak and Kentish Town will all be asked to give their feedback on 9 January on potential rises of up to 2.9 per cent.
Rent reductions for council tenants were put in place by central government in 2016, and the Town Hall is floating the idea of raising service charges to reduce budget pressure and allow for “necessary investment in resident safety”.
Communal lighting, mechanical and electrical maintenance and caretaking charges could see a rise of 2.4 per cent, whilst residents’ security patrols could go up 2.9 per cent as a result of additional investment in the service over the past year.
A state-of-the-art wireless CCTV system is also being considered, with new ‘Rapidly Deployable Cameras’ which could be strategically placed in high-risk areas.
A council report states: “The budgetary context for the medium term is challenging with the Council needing resources to meet three key priorities; 1) building homes; 2) maintaining high quality housing stock; and 3) delivering a new standard in resident safety.
“Since April 2016 the government have imposed rent reductions of 1 per cent resulting in the need for savings, simply to balance the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budget.
“New cost pressures relating to the delivery of the Council’s enhanced resident safety standards of £2.7m per year have also been identified and overall financial pressures on the HRA for 2019/20 of £6.7m have been identified.
“Off-setting these pressures, a three-year efficiency savings programme was implemented in January 2017, with £5.3 million to be delivered in 2019/20.
“The council is able to utilise reserves in 2019/20 to ensure that the necessary investment in resident safety is not delayed. The budget pressure would be reduced if decisions are made to increase any tenant service charges.”