The decision to set the rents for next year has to be taken by the Board at their meeting in February 2010. Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, we have a duty to consult tenants on the proposed changes to rents and service charges.
We welcome comments from our tenants either posted here, by e-mail or by speaking to one of our Housing Officers.
Ayrshire Housing is a “not for profit” organisation. This means that the rent you pay is used to meet the costs of the management and maintenance of your home and any services that are provided. From the rent we receive we also make payments on loans which were part of the funding package when your property was acquired or developed.
Your rent pays for the staff costs involved in running the association and also for other direct costs such as office accommodation, computers and stationery. Repairs to the properties are also paid for from the rent income.
We are also bound to consider whether our rents are affordable. The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations provides guidance to associations on how to measure affordability. Based on this, our rents are considered to be affordable.
We also have to ensure that the income we receive is available for the future management and maintenance of our properties rather than just the next couple of years. While we don’t want to increase rents more than is necessary we have to be sure that funds are sufficient to secure the future of the association and its properties for the benefit of current and future tenants.
We also compare our rents with those of other housing associations and the local Councils. Inflation levels, interest rates and costs in the construction industry are also analysed as these all affect our financial projections.
Taking account of the various elements we have to consider, it is proposed that we restrict any increase to no more than 2%. This represents an increase of £1.21 a week for a typical 2 bedroom house. For comparison the equivalent increase last year was £1.98.
The tenants who joined the association in 1999 from Scottish Homes were given a guarantee that rents would not increase by no more than 1% above inflation (RPI) for the first ten years. We were required as a condition of the transfer contract to report on compliance to the Scottish Government. The Board is pleased to report that for several years, it was able to set the annual increase well within this limit. The Government is now proposing to release Ayrshire Housing from the remaining terms of the contract. Service standards and rent levels will however continue to be closely monitored by the Scottish Housing Regulator. The Board welcomes the proposal but wants to hear your views before making a final decision in January. In particular, it will allow us to retain sales receipts which would otherwise have to be sent back to the Government. If the contract is set aside, these can be used to further improve services for the benefit of existing and new tenants.
Expressing your views
We are inviting you to give us your views on next year’s proposed rent increase and contract with the Government. In particular we would like you to tell us if you think our proposals are fair and also do you think that the basis for settings rents is fair.