Renfrewshire Council

Rent freeze boost for Renfrewshire Council tenants

As part of the budget for 2017/18 councillors approved proposals not to increase rent on any of its 12,000 homes.

Renfrewshire Council is to help its tenants by freezing rents for the next year.

The council owns around 12,000 homes in Renfrewshire and all its tenants will see their rent remain at the current level in 2017/18. 

Councillors approved the measure as part of the budget in a meeting today (Thursday 16 February).

It follows a recent consultation with council tenants, which saw more than 600 share their views through a telephone survey in December and January.

More than half thought rents should remain at current levels or increase below the rate of inflation.

Almost three-quarters thought that 'affordability for tenants' was the most important thing for the council to take into account when setting a rent increase.  

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: "Affordability is clearly an issue of concern to most tenants.

"Freezing rents for the next year will give a welcome boost to households across the area and I'm glad the council is in a position to give them this help.

"The UK Government's welfare reforms are causing severe financial difficulty for families so this council is absolutely determined to do whatever we can to help people get by.

"We set aside £5 million for measures to alleviate the impact of the chancellor's unfair reforms over the period 2013/14 to 2017/18.

"This included having extra staff to help tenants who are struggling because of the reforms and this support will continue over the next year."

A report to the council explained the key assumptions underpinning 2017/18 budget proposals. 

Improved letting times, the expected pace of roll out of Universal Credit in Renfrewshire, and management of historic debt are among the factors enabling no rent increase in 2017/18.

While council tenants raked 'affordability' as the most important factor in setting the rent increase, tenants also highlighted the importance of improvements to existing housing and building new council homes. 

The budget passed by councillors includes plans to spend £65 million over the next three years (2017/18 to 2019/20).

This includes £36.9 million for planned investment programmes such as new roofs and external fabric improvements, internal improvements, and improvements to multi-storey flats and sheltered housing.

It also makes provision for more than 300 new build council homes, including around 100 new homes at Bishopton and around 100 in Johnstone Castle, as well as capital investment to support local housing regeneration initiatives.

Council Leader Macmillan said: "Renfrewshire Council is committed to providing high-quality homes that people can afford to rent and buy.

"We want to create homes that people want to live in - and ensure our communities are places where they want to stay."

Published 16/02/17