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Three per cent rise in council house rents agreed

By Ali Morrison

Council house rents are to rise by three per cent, it has been confirmed.

The increase, agreed by Highland councillors, will result in a rise in the average weekly council house rent from £75.38 to £77.74 (£2.26), which means that Highland rents are still eighth lowest of the 26 councils that retain housing.

The report, which went before members at a special meeting of Highland Council, highlighted that rent levels for 2020/21 will generate enough income to fund expenditure relating to housing management, repairs and loan charges.

A significant part of the increase in repairs and maintenance (£1.780m) is an additional £1m to comply with new standards for domestic fire detection arising from changes introduced by the Scottish Government as part of the national response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Direct staff cost increases and bad debt provision based on continuing trends in rent arrears are all linked to the decision to increase rents.

The housing and property committee chairman, Councillor Ben Thompson, said: “The council has a legal requirement to balance its housing revenue account income and expenditure at the end of the financial year.

“To that end, members have accepted the proposal for a small increase to housing rent and service charges for the coming year 2020/21.”

He added: “The council continues to identify annual efficiency savings aimed at reducing management and maintenance costs without compromising best value for tenants.

“This small rise in rents will help to support an improving housing service for tenants.”

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