Council house rent increase set at 3%
The average weekly rent charged by The Highland Council to its 13,411 council house tenants is set to increase by 3% for the coming financial year 2019/20.
The average weekly rent will rise from £73.22 to £75.42 - an increase of £2.20 per week.
The 3% increase will be applied across the region to residential rents, gypsy/traveller site pitches, service charges and garage and garage sites.
In 2019/20, the Council’s proposed budget for Council housing repairs and maintenance is £17,811 million (an increase of 5.9% on last year’s repairs and maintenance budget).
The rent collected goes into an account called the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and this money is only used for services which benefit Council tenants, such as repairs to houses. It does not pay for roads, street lights; refuse collection or services other than Housing.
Cllr John Finlayson, Chair of the Council’s Care, Learning and Housing Committee said: “This report shows that the Council’s Housing Revenue Account is in a healthy position and this small rise in rents will help to ensure that we are able to increase the amount of money we spend on environmental improvements to our housing estates, which is something we know is a priority for tenants.
“The Council continues to work hard to keep rent increases as low as possible for tenants while continuing to provide a high level of front line services and investment in our housing stock, and we have had rent increase well below the national average for a number of years.”
Vice Chair of Care, Learning and Housing Committee Cllr Linda Munro added: “To maintain a healthy Housing Revenue Account in future we do need to update our financial assumptions and future Account business plan and I am pleased that Members have agreed that a full review of the Housing Revenue Account loan charges and capital planning is carried out which will help to determine future rent policies and capital planning for housing.”
Highland Council rents are the second lowest of the 5 main Housing Associations operating in the Council area; and since 2010/11 Highland Council annual rent increases have consistently been among the lowest in Scotland.
The Council has a legal requirement to balance its Housing Revenue Account income and expenditure at the end of each financial year.