Grampian Housing Association announces rent freeze for 2021/22

Grampian Housing Association announces rent freeze for 2021/22

Dr Abhishek Agarwal

Tenants of Grampian Housing Association will have their rents frozen for the next year following the decision of the Association’s board not to apply a rent increase on the 1 April 2021.

The freeze will also apply to service charges and owners’ management fees. Tenants and other customers will be advised by letter in the coming weeks.  

Chairman Dr Abhishek Agarwal hopes the announcement will bring some much needed relief to the many tenants who have suffered financially because of Covid-19. 

He said: “As required of the Association and in keeping with our commitment to engagement, last November we consulted tenants on the rent increase and at that time the majority opted for a 0.7% increase for 2021/22. 

“We appreciate the feedback and comments from all tenants who participated. However since then, the board has reflected on the continuing adverse affect of Covid-19 and the challenges of further lockdown restrictions for tenants and other customers. 

“The board was already mindful that when our tenants were surveyed during the first lockdown, just over half reported they had experienced a negative financial impact. So when the second lockdown was announced it was acutely clear to us that the full financial impact had yet to be felt and the coming year will be another very difficult one for many households.” 

Throughout the pandemic, the Association has undertaken extensive work to support its tenants. This has included telephone check-ins with vulnerable tenants as well as providing practical assistance and access to its tenancy sustainment services which offer free money and debt advice, housing support and energy advice. A new tenant welfare fund and a new energy crisis fund have also been set up to support tenants in financial hardship to buy essentials and heat their homes.  

Neil Clapperton, chief executive, added: “We are determined to do all we can to support our tenants and customers where it is possible for us to do so, ensuring that tenants can continue in the knowledge that we will keep our commitment to improving their homes, reducing fuel poverty and continuing with our current new build programme to address housing need. 

“Due to the continued uncertainty over the economic impact of the pandemic, board members have tasked us with reviewing our business plan proposals. 

“We are fortunate in that we have been taking action since 2018 to make efficiencies. These have already made a positive contribution to our financial health and will continue to do so as change progresses.” 

Other social landlords to freeze rents for the upcoming year include Abertay Housing AssociationCernach Housing AssociationDrumchapel Housing Co-operative, Parkhead Housing AssociationFyne HomesRural Stirling Housing Association and Maryhill Housing.

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