Council moves to correct rent error

Uttlesford District Council is writing to all its council housing tenants to give them an important update on their housing rent.

An internal review has revealed an error in the way the council calculated rent for a number of its housing tenants in 2021 and 2022. It was found that the wrong inflation measure was applied which meant rents were increased in April 2021 by 0.2% more than they should have been, and then again in April this year by a further 0.8%.

The council is apologising to affected tenants and is arranging the refunds as quickly as possible, which will be paid with interest. For most, this overcharge (and therefore refund due) is in the order of pennies per week, adding up since April 2021 to a matter of some pounds each.

The council has already started a review of its systems to put in place further safeguards to ensure this type of error is not repeated. Rents will also be adjusted to the correct level going forwards.

As is usual in these situations, even if the amounts are relatively modest, the council has already notified the regulator of the issues and the resolution approach.

Cllr Petrina Lees, Leader of the council, said: "Uttlesford District Council has earned a reputation amongst tenants as being a good landlord, but I'm afraid on this occasion it has not been good enough.

"Whilst the majority of overcharging that happened was slight, I believe that any error is unacceptable. For that, the council is apologising to its tenants, as is right and proper. They deserve honesty when high standards are not met. We hope the council's openness and rapid action to resolve the issue will give tenants continued confidence in the council as their landlord."

22 December 2022