Council house tenants in Clackmannanshire can expect their rents to rise from April, with councillors expected to approve an increase this week.

A rise of 6.7 per cent has been recommended, and is due to be agreed at the council meeting on Thursday, February 1.

If approved, this will see rent go up by an average of £5.38 per week, bringing the average weekly rent to £85.62.

The council says this will ensure its current five-year plan remains affordable.

The findings of consultant Arneil Johnston, who were engaged by the council to review the affordability and sustainability of the Capital Plan, support the proposed 6.7 per rent increase to protect housing investment.

The Capital Plan includes carry out works to improve and repair council properties, including kitchen and bathroom renewals, upgrading central heating systems, doors and window replacements, structural works and damp proofing.

The council papers state: “Our appointed consultant has undertaken extensive work exploring the affordability of rents and declaring them to be some of the most affordable of any landlord that they have reviewed.

“This affordability analysis supports the findings from the last three tenant surverys carried out by independent researches, the most recent survey of around 900 tenants found that 96 per cent of tenants consider the council rent affordable.”

As part of the rent setting process, three options were put to tenants for consideration. These were for a 7.7 per cent increase, a 6.7 per cent increase and for a 5.7 per cent increase, each having their own benefits.

Through the survey, Clackmannanshire Council asked their tenants if they thought an increase of 6.7 per cent would be appropriate, in order for them to afford the current business plan. A total of 55 per cent of respondents felt that the increase would be appropriate, while a quarter felt they would prefer a 5.7 per cent increase.

In line with recent years, the council met members of the Clackmannanshire Tenants and Residents Federation (CTRF) to discuss the proposed rent increase. They responded with a statement, outlining their concerns for potential rent increases going forward.

They said: “CTRF acknowledges the multifaceted considerations that influence decisions on rent increases. The federation recognise factors such as the substantial escalation in material costs and the inflationary pressures from the recently agreed COSLA pay settlements.

“However, we are concerned as an executive committee that rent pressure is being elevated by staff wage rises (unfunded by the government), especially when tenants are already navigating financial challenges. We will be writing to the minister on this to how tenants voice can influence these discussions (pay settlements).

“We look forward to working with the council in reviewing wider corporate chargers and housing staff time allocation to ensure we are fully receiving value for money for each pound of tenants rent provided, as part of upcoming scrutiny activity. This will ensure that costs are minimised to help keep rents as affordable going forward.”

Four out of five (79 per cent) council house tenants in Clackmannanshire receive full or partial support with rent.