Council tenants in Dundee will see a 3% rent rise from April, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to batter household budgets.
Weekly rents will increase by an average of £2.41 per week.
The rise was approved by the city council’s policy and resources committee after a consultation with tenants in October.
According to a report put to the committee, an additional £1,563,000 will be collected.
The extra cash will support people in holding their tenancies, reduce the number of households in fuel poverty, invest in council housing, and go towards new affordable homes.
Dundee City Council’s Hardship Fund has also been increased to £1m, a boost of £500k.
This money helps tenants struggling to pay the rent and is sourced from the local authority’s reserves.
For the consultation, three choices were put to tenants: the agreed rise of £3%, 3.25% and 3.5%.
Councillors at the committee on Monday raised issues and concerns of local residents.
‘Pressure on tenants’
Heather Anderson, convener of the neighbourhood services committee and SNP councillor for Coldside said: “Every one of us in this room was concerned about putting any additional pressure on our tenants.
“So, I’m therefore relieved that we’ve navigated our way to this point and that what we’ve come up with here is a very fair and responsible set of proposals.
“I understand previously, that what we would have done before was try to be within 1% of the current rate of inflation and in the current circumstances, that would have been a 14.3% increase.
‘Future of hardship fund’
Speaking on the increase to the hardship fund, Labour councillor for Maryfield, Georgia Cruickshank said: “Given the increase and expansion of the fund, has there been any early discussions about keeping the hardship fund open to non-housing benefit tenants beyond 2024, if required?”
Louise Butchart, the city council’s head of housing and construction said: “The report sets out, this is a one off increase within this financial year coming, and we’ll be back around looking at the budget setting later this year and bringing back a report to committee with recommendations for setting that budget.”
‘Is energy saving working?’
With high energy bills a continuing concern for residents, East End Labour councillor, Dorothy McHugh pointed to the “continued investment in external wall insulation” on council homes within the committee report.
She said: “This was promoted to tenants as having the potential to reduce their energy costs by, I think…£150 a year.
“Could officers bring an updated report on the success or otherwise of this energy reducing, cost reducing potential of the external wall insulation.”
Council leader, John Alexander said: “I think that information is reported through a number of different mechanisms, including the best value review group.
“In some senses, no matter how much money we spend improving the fabric of the building, if the energy costs go up by a significant margin, that might very much outmanoeuvre the moves in which we’ve made to improve the situation for people.”