Perth and Kinross Council rent levels for 2022/23 to be considered
A record number of Perth & Kinross Council tenants have given their verdict on how much they think their rent should rise by in 2022/23.
A 3% rent increase is being recommended in line with the views of tenants, following a consultation which gathered over 2,000 responses. This will be considered at a meeting of the Housing and Communities Committee later today.
Perth & Kinross Council said the proposed rent increase would pay for increased service levels for tenants and reflects its continued commitment to maintaining rent levels that are affordable, whilst maintaining good performance and high levels of tenant satisfaction.
The local authority currently has the third-lowest rent level when compared to other local authorities in Scotland, and is projected to remain as one of the lowest council rent levels in the country. It estimates that its rents will remain 5% lower than neighbouring local authorities and 18% lower than local housing associations.
The Housing Revenue Account - the pot of money made up of tenants’ rent that pays for housing services - faces several cost pressures over the next 12 months. These include the rising cost of building materials, as well as paying for the implementation of Scottish Government priorities such as meeting climate change obligations and carrying out electrical checks on all our properties. The proposed rent increase would also cover these costs.
As part of the work to involve tenants in discussions on rent setting, for the fifth year running each tenant was given the chance to vote on three different rent increase options. These options were based on what tenants told us their priorities were for investment during an ongoing process of engagement throughout the year.
A total of 2,177 tenants responded to the consultation - almost 30% of tenants. This was the biggest ever response to the council’s annual rent level survey, and compares to 1,282 responses last year.
Over half (54%) of tenants said they preferred the option of a 3% increase. This would allow the council to make new and increased investment in:
- Additional work required to help ensure the housing stock can meet climate change targets by reducing the carbon emissions of homes (£133,000).
- Increasing the Tenancy Sustainment Fund, which supports tenants who are suffering financial hardship and struggling to pay their rent. The fund will increase to £200,000.
- Buying back ex-council properties to increase housing stock. An additional £15 million will be invested over the next five years.
- Covering increasing costs of buying stock for repairs and improvements (£220,000).
- Electrical Inspection Condition Reports (EICR).
Councillor Bob Brawn, housing and communities convener, said: “The proposed increase in rent would give Perth & Kinross Council an average rental figure of £73.61 per week compared to the projected Scottish local authority average of £79.71. We would continue to have one of the lowest local authority rents in Scotland whilst being able to make important investments in Housing Services that our tenants have told us they want to see, and also cover increasing costs that we face.
“We know that for many people finances are challenging at the moment, so it was very important to us that any rent increase is affordable for our tenants, We carried out an assessment and found that 84% of our residents could afford our proposed rents based on their income alone, without considering any housing benefit they receive.
“We have also put in place a wide range of practical financial help for anyone who needs it. Our Tenancy Sustainment Fund and Housing Locality Teams are available to support our tenants. I would urge anyone who is struggling to pay their rent to contact us on 01738 476000 to take advantage of the financial support that Housing staff and other Council colleagues can provide.”
Vice Convenor, Councillor Chris Ahern, added: “We would like to thank the record number of tenants who took part in this consultation on rent levels. It is vital to us that our tenants have a strong voice in making these important decisions. We’ll continue to work very closely in partnership with tenants to ensure we deliver high quality services for them.”