Tenants play key role in setting South Lanarkshire rents

SLC rent seminarCouncil house rents in South Lanarkshire have been set for the coming financial year and once again tenants have played a central role in the process.

A key feature of the approach saw the process kick off in June when tenant representatives from the Budget Scrutiny Group met to discuss and agree the programme for engagement in setting the rents.

Between October and December 2016, events and opportunities were made available to tenants to give their views on the rent levels, including;

  • an online survey;
  • local area meetings;
  • meetings with particular customer groups including homelessness service users and Gypsy/Travellers; and
  • a final closing event.
  • Around 400 tenants took the time to participate in these events and make their views known. In addition, a Scrutiny Panel comprising tenant representatives from across South Lanarkshire was established and played a key role in the programme.

    The Panel, supported by the South Lanarkshire Tenants Development Support Project (SLTDSP), considered a wide range of financial information and met with council officers to discuss and consider aspects of the housing budget in more detail.

    The Panel also played a key role in the closing event in December, where tenant representatives from the Panel presented their findings to the council and other tenants.

    Budget Scrutiny Group member Rita Cowan said: “Being involved in the rent-setting consultation has been an important and valuable experience for me as a tenant. I feel that playing my part has highlighted the important contribution residents can make to the choices facing local councils in these trying and difficult times.”

    The feedback and views from the consultation were collated and included in the report presented to South Lanarkshire Council Special Committee on February 16, 2017, where approval was given for a 2% rent increase.

    Annette Finnan, head of area services at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “It is very important that decisions on matters of this significance are made in consultation with our tenants. For several years now, we have undertaken a far-reaching and lengthy consultation process which provides tenants with the chance to give views on the rent options and identify their priorities.

    “The feedback received is used to help us set the most appropriate rent levels for the coming year.”

    Francine O’Donnell, development worker, said: “It was been a real pleasure to work with tenants on this year’s rent-setting consultation from the very beginning. It has been great to see how committed tenant representatives have been in considering a range of budgetary information relating to the housing service.

    “This knowledge has enabled them to educate fellow tenants to help them make informed decisions on what rent option would be best for them. South Lanarkshire Council have been very open, informative and supportive throughout the process and the closing event with senior council officers was testament to this.”

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