Hastings Borough Council has temporarily reversed a decision on beach hut rent payments after accepting their letter informing tenants of the changes ‘could have been better’.
On November 1, the council wrote to beach hut tenants about a ten per cent increase in rent and said payments must be received in full by the end of January 2020.
The owners said this differed from previous years when they were given three months to pay off the rent in instalments.
Eric Landamore, who rents a beach hut at West Marina, said changing this to a ‘no choice one-off payment’ of £1,367 showed no consideration to the financial pressures some tenants would experience straight after the Christmas period.
As a result, the council said it would allow payments by instalments if tenants were unable to pay the full amount by the end of January.
However, it did say this would be the last year instalments would be available and by 2021 tenants would be expected to pay their rent by the January deadline.
A council spokesperson said: “We are sorry that beach hut owners are unhappy with the letter we sent concerning beach huts, and we accept that it could have been better.
“We are reviewing the arrangements for paying for beach huts and accept that we should have given more notice of the changed arrangements, in particular to those who have paid by instalments in previous years. We are sorry that we did not communicate this earlier.
“Paying by instalments significantly increases our workload, and is not cost-effective, particularly as a number of licence owners have not paid within the agreed period and we have to continually chase for payment. We have significantly reduced our administrative staff over recent years, and we would prefer that colleagues were more productively employed on other things that really benefit our town, rather than spending time chasing overdue beach hut payments.
“But we also acknowledge that some of our customers may not be able to find all of the money immediately and without warning, particularly at this time of the year. We will therefore allow payment by instalments for those who aren’t able to pay the full amount by 30th January.
“This will be the last year that payments by instalments will be available. The following year (for 2021) we would expect them to save during the year to pay by the 30th January deadline.”