Rents on council housing in East Dunbartonshire will increase by 3.5 per cent, which means an average weekly rent will increase, from £79.37 to £82.15.
Convener of Place, Neighbourhood and Corporate Assets, Councillor Billy Hendry, said: “Our housing revenue budget of just over £14.5 million will ensure we continue to deliver an affordable and sustainable housing service to our tenants.
“The proposed increase in rent has been met with broad agreement amongst tenants and tenants’ groups through our consultation process and it also compares favourably with our neighbouring authorities, who plan increases of between 2% and 3.9%.”
The council will also increase the rent on lockups by 5.4 per cent later this year, after a refurbishment programme. The average weekly rent will change from £75.31 to £80.99 per year.
The housing capital budget has been set at £13.3m including £7.5m to build new houses. The council will borrow £5.8m to achieve this.
Prior to setting the budget, the council ran a tenant consultation exercise from last October. A majority of tenants (57 per cent) agreed to rent in rises of inflation plus one per cent but the actual increase is less than that, due to limit the impact on those in arrears and the regulator raising concerns over rising rent levels. The council has not ruled out the full inflation plus one per cent rise in 2020/2021.
Compared with nearby local authorities and housing associations, the rent increase is slightly higher than the average of 3.05 per cent but this additional money will support local housebuilding. The council will build 375 new homes over the next five years.
At a special meeting of the council on Thursday, the housing budget won the approval of opposition councillors, and it was passed unanimously.