Tenants living in an apartment building in Ancoats have been reduced to tears by proposed rent increases to fight inflation.
One said increases “over 13%” had been emailed to “several” Flint Glass Wharf residents, saying the highest they had seen was over 15%.
An adviser who met with tenants about the situation expressed concern and described the proposed rent increases as “sudden and substantial”.
Flint Glass Wharf is a 136 apartment complex spread over six floors on Radium Street, near Ancoats Marina and the Rochdale Canal.
A tenant told the Manchester Evening Nes: “It’s a bit of a shocking situation.
“All residents receive different rent increase proposals by e-mail.
“A resident goes from £965 per month to £1,095 per month, an increase of 13.5%.
“Another goes from £850 to £950. The highest we’ve seen is someone saying their rent is going up 15.5%.
“They are really scared and can’t pay.
“People are in tears about it. They say they don’t know how they’re going to pay.
“We all understand that paying a raise is because of inflation. Inflation happens.
“But people might be forced out of their apartments because of it.”
Residents whose leases are coming to an end have been contacted by the developer Northern Group to offer them a renewal of their lease.
In an email seen by men a tenant learns that his rent will increase by more than £100 a month.
Northern Group wrote: ‘While we appreciate that no customer wants an increase, the rent offered is in line with market values for the area, building and type of property.’
The tenant claimed there were also issues with the building, highlighting bike theft, a recurring broken front door and elevator, package theft and parking security issues.
“We had our rents increased about six months ago with inflation, which no one disputed,” they said.
“But this is absolutely ridiculous. We started a petition.
“The current level of inflation in the UK is 5.4% – so we understand a rent increase, but double digits, it’s just going to force us out, especially since most of us already paid a raise six months ago.
“Several Flint Glass Wharf tenants have been asked to pay rent increases of more than 13%.
“This is at a time when tenants are already being squeezed by rising costs of living, especially energy bills. We demand fair negotiations.”
Tenants wrote to Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell raising their concerns and contacted Ancoats and Beswick Liberal Democrat councilor Alan Good, who held meetings after the petition was launched.
Count Good told the MEN: “After meeting with residents, I am concerned about sudden and large rent increases of up to 13% and 15%.
“Residents have been quoted different increases under the guise of bringing rents in line with local market value, while being inconsistent within the building itself.
“However, part of this market rate assessment includes the service and quality of the apartments, not just the location.
“For example, other buildings that charge rent in excess of £1,050 pcm for a two-bed flat have amenities that Flint Glass Wharf does not.
“I am also aware of outstanding issues with lighting, security and repeat package theft, which I am now in contact with property managers to resolve.
Another tenant told MEN: ‘My rent was increased in December by £20 to £850 and now I’m being asked for £950 by the end of May.
And another said: “We agreed a £25 rent increase in November and have just been told that, in line with market value, it will go up by £125 in May. This is appalling and unfair. “
Northern Group said that following the meetings they would discuss the individual circumstances with the tenants in the hope of “finding a mutually acceptable solution”.
They pointed to the “initial” proposals and said rents for some rentals had not been adjusted in the past two to four years for market rent or inflation.
In a statement to MEN, a spokesman for Northern Group said they were committed to working with tenants.
They said: “Following contact with tenants, we immediately wanted to address their concerns and called a meeting with tenant representatives.
“There are some rentals where we initially offered rents above the rate of inflation for 2021-22.
“This is mainly because the rent has not been adjusted for the past two to four years based on market rent or inflation.
“It was a conscious decision due to the uncertainty posed by the pandemic or the individual circumstances of the tenants.
“As the country begins to stabilize from the effects of the pandemic, rents for tenants without fixed-term contracts have been reviewed, with some offering to bring them in line with the market.
“When a tenant has a concern about a raise, we discuss their personal situation and find a mutually agreeable solution.
“We are responding to any concerns about the condition of the building, with the consensus of tenant representatives that the building is in fact well maintained.
“As an example, to improve security over the past two years we have installed new access control systems, locks, security vinyl, CCTV and replaced all main doors.”
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