North Ayrshire Council has launched a major consultation with tenants as it strives to make rents fairer.
This is the first major review of rent levels for a number of years and looks at the current charging system which is based loosely on size, type of property and the type of heating system installed.
This historic system has resulted in a significant number of discrepancies which, it is hoped, the review will address. Some tenants living in smaller-sized properties currently pay a higher rental charge than tenants of a larger-sized property. There are also examples of neighbours with the same size of property paying different rent charges due to historic discrepancies between the former Irvine Development Corporation and Cunninghame District Council.
Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet Member for Place, said: “This is not about increasing rents – it’s about making rents fairer for all of our council house tenants.
“Here in North Ayrshire, our rent levels are not only below the Scottish average, they are also considerably lower than our neighbouring registered social landlords.
“The consultation aims to ensure that we have a simplified rent structure that is clear and fairer for everyone.”
Phase one of the consultation kick-started on Wednesday (28 June) and all council tenants are being asked to share their views by completing an online survey.
A second consultation is planned for late summer, to consider possible models. The outcome and recommendations following the consultations are scheduled to be drawn up later in the year. If a new model is agreed, it would be likely to be implemented in April next year.
One of the key considerations during the consultation will be ensuring that any new rent structure is fair and affordable. As part of this, there will be joint working with the Council’s Welfare Reform Advice Team to understand tenant profiles and those affected by any proposed changes in their rent charge.
The average North Ayrshire Council rent is £66.62—below the Scottish national figure of £67.74.