TENANTS’ groups in Fife have given their support to a proposed 5.6 per cent increase in Council house rents.
The above inflation rise would enable the Council to invest in the building of up to 1000 new homes over the next five years, as well as carry out improvements to existing properties.
The consultation on the proposed increase from April – an average rise of £3.16 per week – and the housing budget for 2013/14 was launched at the Annual Tenants’ Conference.
And the majority of tenant representatives at the event were in favour of the proposals.
Speaking at the conference, Councillor David Ross, Fife Council’s executive spokesman for housing, highlighted the key priorities for the year ahead, including the delivery of new affordable housing, meeting the Scottish Housing Quality Standard, developing more housing options for older people and working with tenants to improve estates.
He said: “The level of budget available to address key priorities is heavily dependent on agreement around the increase in rents from the current year.”
The Council’s current policy provides for annual rent increases of inflation – based on RPI (retail price index) – plus one per cent. This would have equated to a rise of 3.6 per cent.
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 for 2013/14.
Tenants in new homes, though, could face an additional 10 per cent increase – pushing their average weekly rise up to £8.82 – to reflect the higher standards and lower energy costs of their properties.
Councillor Ross urged Council tenants to have their say on the proposed rent rise through the newsletter ‘Down Your Street’ which was sent out this month.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is for every Council tenant to make their views known,” he said.
The final decision on the rent rise will be made in February.