Highland councillors approve 3% housing rent increase

Highland councillors approve 3% housing rent increase

A proposed 3% rent increase for 2020/21 was agreed by The Highland Council’s new housing and property committee yesterday.

The change, which will increase the average weekly council house rent from £75.38 to £77.64 (£2.26 per week), will result in an increased repairs and maintenance expenditure of £1.78 million (10%).

The most significant element of this is an additional £1m to comply with new standards for domestic fire detection arising from changes introduced by the Scottish Government.

A further £0.462m is included based on extra revenue available for planned maintenance based on the recommended 3% rent increase.

The committee also agreed that this percentage increase (3%) is applied to all residential HRA rents and service charges and to gypsy/traveller site pitches and that non-HRA rents for leased property should be increased as stipulated in existing contracts.

HRA revenue estimates and HRA rent increases will go to the next Highland Council meeting on 13 February for consideration and formal approval.

The rent increase would come into effect from April 2020. A report on the HRA Capital Plan (2022/2027) will be presented to the next housing and property committee in April 2020.

Councillor Ben Thompson, chair of the housing and property committee, said: “Over the last five years, Highland Council rents have been increasing at a much lower rate than nationally or amongst housing associations operating in Highland. Currently our rents are 8th lowest out of the 26 councils which retain housing and second lowest of the five main housing associations operating in the council area.

“The council received extensive tenant feedback to our rent consultation and the agreed rent increase is supported by the majority of tenants.”

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