Proposed council house rent increase to stay below inflation

New council houses

Councillors at Fife Council’s Policy & Co-ordination Committee today (19 November) agreed to formally consult tenants on rent increases for 2021/22.

Head of Housing, John Mills said: “Fife has some of the lowest management and average rent costs in the country. Our commitment to high quality services and developing more localised service delivery has been built up with tenants over many years"

Councillor Judy Hamilton, Housing Convenor said: "Every year we consult with tenants on the rent options – this is the most important decision for every Council tenant. For most people it is a busy time of year, but I hope that tenants will take this opportunity to ‘have their say’ on the proposed rent option from April 2021 and tell us their Housing priorities.

“The impact of Covid-19 means our tenants have been unable to attend our usual events like the Better Homes Exhibition and local Tenant gatherings; and we’ve had to look at alternative approaches to talk and listen to their views.

“Our Tenant Federations have already highlighted the need to keep a rent increase as low as possible.

"We are continuing to invest in our ambitious housebuilding programme and improving existing council homes; and, most importantly at this time, tackling poverty by improving the support we provide to our most vulnerable communities.

“We explained In the Autumn edition of the tenants' magazine "Down Your Street", how the rent increase usually works and how things have had to be different this year. I’ve looked at the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan in this context and am proposing that we do things a little different this time.

“I've been advised that we could maintain our current level of service with a 1.5% increase. This is half of the average c.3% increase and we can do this without making cuts to services. It also means we can continue to support those who have become unemployed or furloughed, through our 'Universal Credit Rent Support' and 'Covid-19 Rent Support' funds.

“It's a good deal that we are proposing to tenants - half of the usual increase and with additional supports. in place.

“Rent collected helps us to continue to make improvements and provide warmer, drier, healthier homes for our tenants and I hope they will give us their views and have their say.”

Following today’s approval, the tenant’s survey will be carried out through the Down Your Street magazine. It will also be available online at www.fife.gov.uk/rentsurvey from 21 December 2020 until 31 January 2021 to give tenants’ the opportunity to share their views before councillors take final budget decisions in February next year. The new rent level will be applied from April 2021.

Read the full report.