COUNCIL house rents could go up by as much as £8.82 per week in a bid to generate up to £85m to build more houses and improve existing properties in Fife.
Fife Council’s executive committee this week agreed to recommend a 5.6 per cent hike from April – an average rise of £3.16 per week.
But tenants in new-build homes could be facing a further 10 per cent rise to reflect the higher standards and lower energy costs of their properties, pushing their average increase up to £8.82 per week.
Council tenants will get the chance to have their say on the proposed increase at the annual Tenant Conference today (Thursday) and through a survey conducted through the ‘Down Your Street’ newsletter.
The final decision will be made in February when the Council sets its budget for the coming year.
Councillors were mindful of the effect of any increase on household budgets, but with over 14,000 on housing waiting and transfer lists in Fife, they were also aware of the need to generate funds to build much-needed homes.
And with two third of all tenants receiving housing benefit – 40 per cent having their rent paid in full – it was acknowledged the worse off would be cushioned against the impact of the rise.
Councillor David Ross, executive spokesman for housing and communities, said: “The bottom line is we don’t have enough social rented housing in Fife and we need to build more.
“We also need to recognise it is not all about building new homes, and there is a business plan to invest £900m over 30 years to improve our existing properties – that’s £30m a year.
“I believe this represents a fair deal for our existing tenants and holds out hope for those on the waiting list and helps address the housing crisis in Fife.”
The Council’s current policy provides for annual rent increases of inflation – based on RPI (retail price index) – plus one per cent. This would equate to a 3.6 per cent increase.
However, the rent rise for 2012/13 was set at RPI less one per cent, the agreement with tenants being that there would be a two per cent ‘catch-up’ in subsequent years. The addition of that two per cent resulted in the recommended rise of 5.6 per cent.