Councillors at Fife Council’s Cabinet Committee (17 November) agreed to formally consult tenants on four options for rent increases for 2023/24.

Councillor Judy Hamilton, Housing Convenor said: “Every year we consult with tenants on the rent options and it’s a really important decision for every household. Although December and January is a busy time of year, I hope that tenants will take this opportunity to have their say on rent options and let us know their housing priorities.

"We find ourselves in a time where inflation is around 11%, interest rates are rising – and I am fully aware of the financial pressures that people under. Prices are rising, heating your home is more expensive, all the services we require cost more, and most importantly the cost of the food we need to feed our families has increased.

"With the increased financial burdens being faced this year, it is more important than ever that tenants use their vote and tell us how they feel about the rent they pay. These votes will help the decision that is made by Councillors at the Council budget setting meeting in February.

"This year, we are going to consult on four options for rent rises for 2023/4 - 0% (a rent-freeze), 1%, 2% and 3%. All of these options are significantly below the inflation rate; although higher inflation will affect the cost of services that we provide. There are going to be some challenges and pressures to the Housing Service in continuing to deliver services in the same way.

"A rent freeze (0%) means there will have to be cuts to services. In order to continue to operate at current service levels, £6.826m will have to be found to catch up with inflation. Based on the rent options proposed for 2023- 24, there are going to be pressures on services, which will be greater with lower percentage rent increases.

"A 0% increase or rent freeze will mean difficult choices and I would not like to have to make cuts. All of the remaining options represent some level of service reduction will need to be applied by Officers. We can provide targeted support for tenants with rent increases, to help those who need our help the most. One of the things we are consulting you on, is tenant priorities. Rent support is one option. This is why we are asking tenants to tell us about their service priorities, as well as their preferred rent option. I will be meeting with our Tenants Federations to ensure that everyone's views are heard.

The tenant’s survey will be carried out through the Down Your Street magazine. It will also be available online at until 31 January to give tenants the opportunity to share their views before councillors take final budget decisions in February next year. The new rent level will be applied from April 2023.

Read the full report.