7.2% Angus rents hike confirmed

COUNCIL house rents in Angus are set to rise by 7.2% in April, it was confirmed at a special meeting of Angus neighbourhood services committee last week.

Approval of the Consumer Price Index plus 2% increase, which had been recommended by officials and backed by the tenants’ rent-setting group, takes the average weekly rent in the county to £53.49.

The agreed increase was the lowest, and overwhelmingly supported option of three considered as part of a lengthy rent-setting process.

But, although nearly 80% of respondents to a council questionnaire favoured the agreed level, opposition councillors highlighted the fact that the survey response represented a mere 16% of all Angus Council tenants.

Forfar councillor Colin Brown, vice-convener of neighbourhood services, said the income from the approved rents would allow for continuing investment in the Angus stock, in the upgrading of existing homes and the creation of new properties.

“The decision will see a real boost to investment in the county.

“On average, over the life of the Angus Alliance, we’ve spent some £10m per year on our stock.

“On top of that we’ve built and funded over 200 new homes for rent and low cost home ownership, a total investment of over £70m.

But fellow Forfar councillor Glennis Middleton claimed the authority could find itself in rent arrears trouble as the financial climate continues to bite and families feel the effect of changes to the benefit system.

“I am hugely concerned,” she said. “I am very glad there is such a huge response for the lower increase, but worried that the survey return was only 16%. I’m also worried that people may be pricing themselves out of the council housing market because this, for some, will be a significant rise.”