HouseMark Scotland welcomes SHR rent consultation report

Kirsty Wells
Kirsty Wells

A report from the Scottish Housing Regulator highlighting how important it is for social landlords to consult with their tenants annually on rent levels has been welcomed by HouseMark Scotland.

Published earlier this week, the new report points out examples of best practice with some landlords engaging positively with their tenants about costs and options for providing services and actively seeking their views on potential rent increases.

However, the report also suggests that some landlords need to do more to discuss affordability of rents with their tenants and provide them with more information about options for potential rent increases.

Head of HouseMark Scotland, Kirsty Wells, said: “It is welcome news that many landlords are putting tenants at the heart of discussions about current and future rent levels. We also note that there are other landlords who could potentially do more. As part of a best practice approach to rent consultation, benchmarking is a critical tool that can enable landlords to work with tenants to better understand the costs of providing services and how increasing or reducing expenditure on a particular service area can impact on quality of service and tenant satisfaction.”

The Regulator’s report includes a number of recommendations to social landlords around the need for them to understand what is an affordable rent for their tenants. It argues that Landlords should also ask their tenants how they want to be consulted, give them information about their rent and what it is spent on, and tell them how their views have been considered.

The report also cites a separate report produced by the Chartered Institute of Housing, Wheatley Group and HouseMark Scotland entitled “How do you know if you are providing value for money? Defining, managing and demonstrating value for money in Scotland”, which was published in 2015.

This report states that: “The relationship between service costs and service levels needs to be more transparent so that tenants can ‘follow the money’ and understand what is driving the rent and whether value for money is achieved.”

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