Councillors have approved a 3.5 per cent increase in rent for council house tenants.
This amounts to an average weekly rent increase of £2.41, taking it to an average £71.22 per week - but well below the Scottish average.
Perth and Kinross Council is currently the sixth lowest rent level of Scotland’s 32 local authorities and is anticipating it will continue to offer one of lowest council rent levels in the country.
Councillors approved the move at Wednesday’s (January 29) meeting of the housing and communities committee.
Tenants in all 7636 properties were sent a rent level options consultation document in October 2019 outlining three options for 2020/21 rent levels with details on what each option would deliver in housing services. A total of 1251 tenants responded (16 per cent).
The majority of respondents (53 per cent) voted for the lowest increase of 3.5 per cent. Thirty-two per cent voted for a four per cent increase and 12 per cent for a 4.5 per cent increase.
Clare Mailer, head of housing, said there had been an 18 per cent increase in responses from last year’s consultation.
Cllr Bob Brawn pointed out tenants had voted for the lowest option for the second year in a row and suggested councillors were being put in a “bit of a straitjacket” as to how they go about rent-setting.
Cllr Peter Barrett said the council was “departing fairly substantially from indicative rent.”
Clare Mailer told the committee they were asked at a national level to focus on rent affordability.
The head of housing said PKC was continuing to invest in its current housing stock with £27.8 million of investment planned over the next five years. In addition, it has built 334 new homes since 2011. And by March 2020, PKC will have bought back 191 houses at a cost of £21.7 million through the buying-back scheme.
SNP councillor Tom McEwan said: “We want everyone in Perth and Kinross to have a home that is warm, affordable, accessible and meets their needs.
“To meet the challenges of the climate emergency we need to explore how we reduce the carbon footprint of our social housing and give advice to all those living in Perth and Kinross on how they can reduce their own homes footprint.”
The Blairgowrie and Glens councillor said he looked forward to seeing the HEAT and SCARF projects being promoted more widely and said he, himself, had the HEAT project in his home to see how he could improve energy efficiency. The 3.5 per cent increase which will come into force from April 6 will also be applied to: all lock-ups; garage sites; chalets and stances for travelling people at Double Dykes and Bobbin Mill; dispersed tenancies owned by the HRA, and Greyfriars Hostel.