Helping people understand rent challenges is crucial, says GWSF

Helen Moore

At the same time as demands on rental income grow, external scrutiny of rents and rent increases is growing too, according to the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF).

As the April 2019 rent review process begins for most of its members, GWSF has produced a booklet aimed at widening the understanding which councillors, MSPs and other stakeholders have of rent and the various pressures on community based housing associations in keeping rents reasonable.

GWSF chair Helen Moore said: “The rollout of Universal Credit is gaining momentum, threatening the income of tenants and housing associations alike. And this is coming on top of a number of growing pressures such as meeting new fire safety standards, how to repair and improve mixed tenure blocks where owners can’t pay their share, and filling the gap on services such as bulk uplift as council environmental services decline.

“Keeping rents as affordable as possible to people on low incomes has always been hugely important for community controlled housing associations. Our rents compare very favourably with those of regional and national associations, but we can never get complacent about this and we know that we have work to do in letting tenants know exactly how rent money is spent.

“Councillors and MSPs sometimes get drawn into local scrutiny of rents, but we shouldn’t expect them to be experts in how associations are funded. We hope our booklet will help broaden understanding of a tricky issue.”

GWSF has also issued members exclusively with a model leaflet for tenants which can be adapted for use in newsletters, rent consultations etc.

See GWSF’s booklet Pressure on rents here.

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