Onchan Commissioners are calling for the government to freeze local authority rents.
At their meeting last night (Monday), the board considered an email from the Department of Social Care to all local housing authorities which asked for consideration to be given to the level of public housing rents for 2014.
Although public sector housing is managed by local housing authorities, the rents are set by the government.
The commissioners were unanimous in their opinion that due to the large increase in rents imposed by government in 2013, and in recognition that the costs of housing provision had not risen in line with general inflation, the rent for 2014 should remain at 2013 levels.
The authority’s chief executive, Malcolm Hulme, said: ‘Members of the board expressed their deep concerns that rising costs were having a disproportionate effect upon those on low or fixed incomes.
‘The local authority of Onchan manages its public housing very efficiently and does not require any increases in rental income at this time.’
Lead member for finance John Quaye said: ‘Our primary duty of care is to the ratepayers and tenants of Onchan Commissioners and as we continue to generate a surplus on our general housing, and did so prior to the large 2012 and 2013 rent increases, we have requested a rent freeze.
‘The current system fails to address the hardship faced by many of our tenants and means-testing is long overdue.’
Last year Onchan asked for a rent cap for its tenants. But Minister of Social Care Chris Robertshaw refused to agree.
Last week Onchan board chairman Rob Callister accused Mr Robertshaw of misleading Tynwald members about proposed changes to housing authorities, saying they were much more radical than Mr Robertshaw had said.
He also complained that local authorities would have only seven days to respond to a proposal for changes when it is proposed to the November sitting of Tynwald.
A Department of Social Care proposal would see fewer but bigger public housing authorities.
Mr Callister is campaigning for Onchan to keep its housing role.