Meeting called over ERC rent increase plan

editorial image

THE chair of East Renfrewshire Tenants and Residents Association has called a meeting opposing a council proposal to increase residential rent by five per cent for 2014/15.

The plan is to be discussed at a council meeting in February, and if approved will take effect from April this year.

It follows an increase of 4.9% approved in February last year, for 2013/14.

TRA chair Chris Poole believes that another increase will put tenants under increasing financial pressure.

He told The Extra: “In these current, difficult economic times, tenants are struggling to feed themselves and their families and food banks are becoming more valuable than ever.

“There are still more price hikes for utilities to come, with ever-increasing food prices.

“The new Universal Credit system will mean rent collection will become much harder in the coming year and will cost more to collect in from tenants in arrears, and evicting tenants who simply don’t have the means to pay.”

He added: At the recent ERC tenant conference, our tenants were, on two occasions, given the opportunity to vote on what concerns them most about their tenancy. The outcome was unanimous —rent.”

A council spokesman responded that, at an average of £60.27 per week, ERC remained the cheapest provider of social housing rent in 2013/14 alongside Glasgow Housing Association (£71.53), Renfrewshire council (£68.77) and Barrhead Housing Association (£74.76).

He added: “Low, affordable rents are a priority for ERC. We have a significant programme of investment to ensure that our stock meets the Scottish Housing Quality Standards.

“Our feedback from tenants is that they want good quality housing at competitive rents which is something we are striving to deliver.”

The issue will be discussed at a rent consultation meeting held by East Ren TRA on Wednesday (January 15) — all tenants are welcome to attend Woodfarm high assembly hall from 7pm.