Rent freeze to release tenants’ cash for heating

[responsivevoice_button voice=”UK English Male” buttontext=”Listen to Post”]

Cllr Louise Laing

Rents for tenants of council houses in Moray will be frozen for the next 12 months.

In previous years rents were increased by between 4% and 5% a year to help fund the council’s new-build programme.

However, a recent report to the Council’s Communities Committee stated that a number of factors over the past two financial years, including lower borrowing costs and low rent arrears, have enabled the council to deliver its new-build programme without the need to further increase house rents.

Moray Council’s programme of new-build adds 70 homes a year to its estate to tackle the area’s affordable housing shortage.

Chair of the committee, Cllr Louise Laing, said: “While the majority of tenants previously accepted the increase on the basis that it would help fund new build housing, a recent survey showed that affording rent and heat were still issues for a large number of households.

“The Scottish Housing Regulator requires local authorities to take the views of tenants into consideration when setting rent increases.

“The committee considered their views and I am pleased that we agreed to freeze rents at the current levels for 2019/20.”

The average council house rent based on a 52-week year is £59.84 a week. Of the 5,909 tenants that were surveyed, 40% responded.

The results show that:

  • 4% of tenants not receiving full housing benefit said their rent is difficult to afford;
  • 34% of tenants said it is just about affordable;
  • 2% of tenants stated that they have experienced fuel poverty in the last year.