Adding additional rent using the simulator
The simulator allows you to add money by increasing the amount of rent. It is set on a sliding scale of rent increases that has more of an effect in year one than it does in later years.
For example 1% added in year one will add over £36m to a 30 year budget and 1% added in year 30 will add just £1.6m. This is because in year 30 the increase will only be applied to one year.
The simulator replicates this effect by caping the amount of rent to 17% rather than allowing a 30% increase.
Rent levels and national policy
Rents and service charges are reviewed annually, using national policy set out in the governments Rent Standard.
For four years (2016 to 2019) annual rents were reduced by 1% every year.
The Government changed the rent setting policy from 1 April 2020 allowing local authorities the ability to increase rents by inflation plus 1%. The policy is valid from 2020 to 2024/25, national policy beyond this date is unknown.
Why rent levels are important
Reviewing rents is important, as rents and service charges are the main source of income. That income pays for services, repairs, maintenance and improvements to homes, communal areas, blocks and estates.
How do our rents compare?
Average rents for Bristol's Council housing were £81.31 in 2021/22, they were the same in 2020/21. In 2019/20 average rents were £78.70. For comparison, in 2019/20 average rents levels for local authority landlords in England were £85.75.
We currently owe £245 million, which we pay interest on each year of £11,000,000. This is paid back through rents paid by our tenants.
If we borrow more money we expect interest to be charged at 3% each year. This will mean an extra £3,000,0000 in interest payments for every £100m.
We intend to use additional borrowing to build new homes and fund retrofit of existing homes to meet carbon neutral targets.
This will be paid back through rents charged on new properities and a small increase in existing rents.
Over half of our homes are flats, most of these flats are in blocks with communal areas. We currently spend money every 10 years on the external fabric of the blocks and combine that with internal decorating to communal areas.
We have a small improvements programme for the outside areas around the blocks, and on the wider council estates, tenants can make their own suggestions for improvements.
The budgets could be increased to improve the standards of our blocks and estates to meet resident priorities.
This will provide for improved communal areas/grounds around the blocks and on estates (such as play areas), and repairs to immediate issues in our blocks such as graffiti removal and minor repairs.The combined effect will enhance the pride residents have in the local area.
This is an offer to tenants who need help with maintaining their gardens, decorating, or some odd jobs in the home (putting up curtain rails, shelves etc). This service can be reviewed and enhanced to provide this support to tenants who are unable to do these for themselves, supporting them in the tenancy.
We currently have a kitchen replacement programme where a kitchen life expectancy is 25 years meaning that on average 1040 kitchens are replaced each year costing £5.5m per year. We are aware that modern kitchens are important to our tenants. This lifecycle could be reduced to 20 years, meaning that kitchens would be replaced sooner and more new kitchens would be delivered each year.
We don’t currently have a bathroom replacement programme (unlike many other social housing landlords).
Modern bathrooms, including showers, are important to our tenants. Currently, where work is required to bathrooms, this is done as a repair, or by replacing single items - e.g. basin, tap, bath etc when broken.
A replacement programme would mean that the complete bathroom would be modernised with new fittings, flooring, tiling etc; for all homes in the life of the 30 year plan.
Energy efficiency is a priority for Bristol City Council and for our residents. We also hope to complete programmes to insulate all of our homes to reduce demand for fuel.
In addition, Bristol City Council has declared a Climate emergency, and has set a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 for the city and for all council activities and a target to achieve and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) level C for all homes by 2030.
These works are expensive, and there may be government grants available to cover some of the costs of these improvements and changes. Estimates show that to insulate homes with no wall insulation and complete other upgrades so that all our homes meet a minimum of EPC C would cost £80m.
To reduce carbon emissions to zero in our homes, including transitioning gas heating to electric and renewable sources, may cost an additional £360m. Combined it will cost up to £540m to reduce carbon emissions from all council homes to zero by 2030.
Click here if you would like to learn more about Bristol City Council's action on climate cange:
We need to build more to meet the needs of a growing population and to help reduce the amount of people who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation.
Funding up to £300m will align with current targets and plans for council homes which we aim to build before 2025. Funding over £300m will allow additional homes to be built after 2025.
For the purpose of the simulator we have allowed you to add up to £800m extra money which will allow up to 4500 new homes to be built. The actual number of new homes that can be built in the next 30 years is also dependent on other factors such as available land.