COUNCIL house tenants received a letter this week stating their rent will increase by almost eight per cent over the next year - but Berneslai Homes promised they will support residents who are feeling the pinch.

Last year Barnsley Council bosses, alongside Berneslai Homes, increased tenants’ rent by 6.5 per cent - slightly less than the maximum threshold increase of seven per cent.

It has now been confirmed that a rent rise of 7.7 per cent has been put forward by the council - representing an average increase of £6.47 a week.

Council bosses have admitted that this may pose additional financial pressure on tenants, and have assured residents that those who are struggling will have the option of extra support.

A spokesperson for Berneslai Homes said: “We’re continuing to support tenants.

“If you’re worried about the rent increase or struggling to pay any of your other bills or to buy essentials - please talk to us, we’re here to help.

“If you’re a Berneslai Homes tenant, then your rent will increase by 7.7 per cent from Monday April 1 2024.

“We know rent increases can be worrying, so we want to assure you if you’re affected that additional support is available.

“The rent increase works out at a weekly average of £6.47 per property.

“This means that we can continue to provide excellent services, carry out repairs, and deliver our planned programme of works so that tenants are comfortable, safe, and live in a good quality home.”

In a bid to support residents, tenants are being asked to let the service know if they are experiencing issues with their rent - or if they need support with other payments.

“If you’re worried about how you’re going to pay your rent, please contact us using our online form or phone us on 787878 and ask for the Income team,” the spokesperson added.

“Our ‘Tenants First’ team can also give you help, over the phone or at your home.

“They can support you to have more money coming into your household and less going out.

“You can also find further information on how we can help and support you on our cost of living webpage.”

Berneslai Homes bosses have also said they are working towards improving the energy efficiency of its council stock.

The council are also working hard to ensure the housing stock can get to energy performance certificate (EPC) C by 2030 - both the council and government target.

Though it’s expected that this will cost around £58m.

Coupled with the backlog of work that needs to be completed on home, rising costs are something councillors are working on.

“It should be noted that there is currently a backlog of planned works which is impacting on tenant satisfaction and resulting in an increase in complaints and disrepair cases,” a report said.

“The backlog originates from works which were reported but were unable to be completed in-year due to the large volume.

“It is a priority for Berneslai Homes and its contractor partners to complete these works as quickly and efficiently as possible, whilst ensuring that there is not an overspend situation in-year.”

Coun Robin Franklin, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, added: “This is about protecting the long-term future of council housing in Barnsley, ensuring we get investment in our stock, delivering the repairs and management support tenants require of us, and the longer-term financial stability that we need.

“Living in a warm, safe home is essential for staying healthy and well, and this is something that every resident in Barnsley should have access to.”