Could hundreds of Thurrock residents be about to see their rent double?

HUNDREDS of Thurrock Council tenants could see their rent double over the coming year.

That could be the consequence if the Housing and Planning Bill also known as the "Pay to Stay Act" goes through parliament.

Pay to Stay is the name of a government policy whereby council tenants earning £30,000 will have to pay "market or near market rents".

The measure is due to come into effect in April 2017.

However, whereas some councils are warning that the consequences could be "Horrifying and devastating", there does not appear to be evidence that Thurrock councillors are concerned at all.

The matter came in front of Thurrock Council’s Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee last week.

Labour, Conservative and UKIP councillors all sit on the committee but it appears none of them have concerns and if they were, they were not recorded.

The chair of the committee, cllr Gerard Rice said: “The new Housing and Planning Act will give more power to local council’s to help protect their residents and I know for a fact that all ward councillors can tell stories of landlords that do not provide a good enough service. So this is welcome news.”

The new Act will also give council’s new powers to protect residents from unsafe and unacceptable housing conditions, including issuing banning orders and being able to compile a database of rogue landlords.

Following the meeting, Cllr Rice said: “It is important the council has discretion over the plans outlined in this act. The fact is, we are still waiting for a lot more detail from central government and when the committee comes together again in October we will get a better picture about whether this will truly benefit our tenants and residents.”

Cllr Jane Pothecary (Lab) said: "There was a discussion regarding "Pay to Stay". Both cllr Rice and I will be awaiting details from officers as what we have at the moment, is a bit sketchy.

"But we do have concerns and will robustly examine what it could mean for our residents."

You may want to contrast this with the statement from the portfolio holder for Housing in Harlow. Go to 50 mins on film below.

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