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Highland Life / News / Highland Council News / New rent structure agreed

New rent structure agreed

Issued: 10 Nov 2010

A fairer system of charging Council house rent has been agreed by The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee following consultation with tenants and an examination of rent structures of other local councils and recognised rent systems.

Consultation indicated that the size and the type of the property were important to tenants in setting rent charges as was the condition and energy efficiency of a property.

The committee agreed to:

* use the lowest, average rent for a bed-sit flat as a base rent;
* increase rents in set increments depending on the number of bedrooms and the type of property;
* use the average difference between current rents for different sizes and types of properties as the incremental difference. For each bedroom a property has, rent will increase by £7.50 and the difference between flats and houses will be £4.

The council is currently building 107 new Council houses. It was agreed that a higher rent should be applied to these properties to reflect the lower expected fuel costs and higher specification. This would range from £3.50 - £8.50 per week.

Garage rents and service charges will be agreed at a later time. The annual rent increase will be determined in February of next year.

The committee was advised that the review of the rent structure would see the average weekly rent charge increase from £64.21 to £64.45. The minimum weekly rent will increase from £28.77 to £45.70 and the maximum rent will decrease from £154.50 to £87.20.

51% of property rents will increase. Of the 8,153 tenants who are in receipt of housing benefit, 48% will see their rent increasing. Of the 5,387 tenants not receiving benefit, 54% will see their rent increasing.

For current tenants, increases/decreases will be capped at £2.50 per week, allowing 94% of tenants to reach the harmonised rent level within 5 years.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of the Housing and Social Work Committee, said: "Tenants have been consulted and told us what they felt was important to consider when looking at rent charges. Our new structure reflects their comments. The new structure simplifies the rent structure and aims to ensure that tenants across the Highlands are paying similar rents for similar properties, making it fairer and equitable. At the same time, it achieves the same level of revenue income as at present."

She said tenants will be consulted about the new rent structure, starting with the tenant conference at Inverness on Saturday 13 November, and letters would be sent to all tenants later this month.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme