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Government housing rents increase by 3%

Johnny Bugeja

Rents on government flats will increase by 3% as from July 1, the Gibraltar Government announced on Thursday.

The increase comes after the Gibraltar Parliament unanimously approved an amendment to the Housing Act in 2017 allowing for annual variations in government rents, a move that MPs on both sides of the House agreed at the time was prudent and sensible.

Prior to this the change, rent on government properties had not increased since 1983, not even to reflect inflation over more than three decades.

“This is just a modest increase which will assist in gaining some ground to rebalancing the overall housing budget,” said Steven Linares, the Minister for Housing.

“Rents in government rental accommodation are extremely low and yet the amount spent by HM Government is very high.”

“Last year’s 3% increase did not happen due to Covid-19 and consideration needs to be taken for future increases to continue rebalancing the housing budget.”

Since the amendment to the Housing Act, there were 3% rent increases in 2018 and 2019.

There was no rise in 2020 against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s support measures during that challenging period.

“The adjustment is considered to be fair on tenants as well as providing some re-balancing in favour of the general tax-payer, despite the increases being so modest that they do not fully adjust for the effects of inflation over the period,” No.6 Convent place said in a statement.

“At the time of the amendment to the Housing Act in 2017, it was noted that the modest increases would continue on an annual basis in a manner that would nonetheless remain considerably below where they would have been if they had increased consistently in line with inflation.”

The new rent will be contained in the bill that tenants will receive in mid-July.

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