Midlothian Council defers rents for another year

Midlothian Council defers rents for another year

Midlothian Council has agreed that proposed annual housing rent increases be deferred for 2022/23.

This follows on from last year’s deferral due to the Covid-19 pandemic impact of the 3% rent increase proposed for 2021/22.

This further deferral has been made possible due to available reserves in the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and factors such as disruption in the construction industry resulting from the pandemic and higher than projected levels of affordable housing subsidy.

The council has been successful in significantly increasing the supply of new affordable housing with 1000 new homes built so far, but there continues to be high demand for council housing. There are currently 4,296 households currently on the Housing List. In order to address this rapid increase in housing need, the supply of new affordable housing across all tenures needs to increase.

Financial modelling has been undertaken in respect of the Housing Revenue Account to ensure that the council can continue to deliver their objectives to keep rents affordable while improving and investing in existing and new homes that meet Scottish Housing Quality and Energy Efficiency Standards.

Councillor Stephen Curran, cabinet member of housing, said: “It has been a challenging couple of years for our tenants so I am delighted that we are able to further defer any rent increases. The need to invest in new housing and maintain the existing housing stock whilst taking account of the affordability of rental charges can be a balancing act.

“The financial model we have developed allows for rent increases of 1.1% from 2023/24 to 2036/37. This ensures that our current Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Capital Plan will continue to remain sustainable. Future capital investment, such as additional zero carbon initiatives and further phases of new social housing will be addressed when reviewing the rent strategy next year.”

It is proposed that the next council considers a rent and investment strategy for the whole term of office after elections in May 2022.

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