Council approves rent setting strategy

Midlothian Council today (Tuesday 4 October) approved its Rent Setting Strategy consultation to cover the period from 1 April 2023 to 2025/26.

Rent increases previously deferred

 Rental charges have traditionally increased annually. In 2021, the council agreed to defer both the 2021/22 and 2022/23 rent increases of 3% following the impact of the pandemic.  The report approved today presented options for future rental charges for council housing from April 2023. These charges will support the continuing investment in existing housing stock and determine the level of new build investment.

New affordable homes are needed

The recent Housing Needs and Demand Assessment for the South East Scotland area projected that in order to meet existing housing need, a total of 8,243 new affordable homes are required in Midlothian over the next 20 years. The council has carried out a new social housing programme since 2006 and continues to invest in building new social housing. The most recent Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) contains details of a further 1,413 new build homes planned between 2022/23 and 2026/27.

Standard for Social Housing

The report approved today highlights that the supply of affordable housing needs to increase whilst investment is also made to existing housing stock in adherence with the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing.

Strike a balance

Councillor Stuart McKenzie Midlothian Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing said:

“Despite our success in significantly increasing the new supply of affordable housing in Midlothian, it is evident that the level of housing need is increasing. The council partly funds new build sites from rental charges. In September 2022 the Scottish Government announced a social housing rent freeze until 31 March 2023. This report outlines our rent strategy for after this period. We have in our rent setting strategy aimed to strike a balance between affordability for the tenants and costs of delivering essential services and property management.”

Rent consultation

The council will now organise an online rent consultation as this will be both cost effective and environmentally friendly. As part of this, a clear rent options guide will be provided along with a survey. Paper copies will be made available to those who request them. council officers will also schedule a number of rent consultation drop-in sessions to enable face to face discussions with members of the public.

Report back

Recommendations based on the consultation will be reported back to council in February 2023.

4 Oct 2022