Tenants in Glasgow are facing rent rises in April of up to 9% as housing associations warn rising costs will hit services.

Social landlords have been consulting on possible rent hikes but say services will still be affected because costs are rising higher than they can increase rents.

Wheatley Homes Glasgow, formerly GHA, the biggest social landlord in Glasgow, is proposing a rent rise of between 3.9% and 4.9% but says anything below 6.5% will affect services.

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Others are planning higher rises, up to 9% to enable them to deliver current services.

Queen’s Cross Housing Association and Maryhill Housing Association in the north of the city are both proposing rises of between 7% and 9%.

Other social landlords have said they will be consulting in the new year on rent levels for next year.

The Scottish Government imposed a rent freeze earlier this year until March 31 to protect tenants over the winter.

Wheatley Homes consultation states the 6.5% it needs is difficult for tenants and has set out three options at lower rises.

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But it said each would mean choices would need to be made on services and investment.

If the Scottish Government was to extend the rent freeze beyond April, Wheatley said it would have a “devastating impact” on its  “ability to provide tenants with the services and investment in existing homes.”

It said it would mean plans for new kitchens and bathrooms would stop, and grasscutting and close cleaning in communities would be reduced.

Bernadette Hewitt, Wheatley Homes Glasgow Chair, said: “We’re listening very carefully to our tenants and fully understand the economic pressures they’re facing. 

“We have also held a series of customer focus groups and spoken face-to-face with over 1200 tenants so far to hear their views and share feedback on everything from rent levels to suggested improvements to our homes, neighbourhoods and services. 

“Our rent levels will continue to be based on the services tenants tell us they want. No decisions have been taken at this stage.”

Housing associations said that a freeze would take hundreds of millions of pounds from investment while most tenants are covered by housing benefit.

Carolyn Lochhead, Director of Public Affairs, at Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), said: “Our members are consulting with tenants on a range of rents significantly below the current rate of inflation, which will protect tenants during the cost of living crisis.

"A rent freeze beyond March 2023 would remove more than £200 million of investment from new and existing homes in the social housing sector and result in reductions in vital support services, while making little difference to individual tenants’ incomes, given that around 70% of tenants have their rents covered in full or in part by social security.”

Individual associations said inflation is affecting everyone.

A Queen’s Cross HA spokesperson, said: “Every day we hear from our tenants about soaring utility and food prices squeezing their incomes.  We are faced with the challenge of keeping rents affordable and maintaining our programme of home improvements such as heating and energy efficiency measures to help mitigate these costs. 

“At a time of increasing demand for our services and with construction costs rising at more than double average inflation, a below inflation rent increase would at least enable us to keep our promises to tenants and help to protect them from the impact of the current economic crisis.”

A spokesperson for Maryhill Housing Association said: “Unfortunately, the cost of providing our services and keeping our neighbourhoods safe and tidy have gone up considerably in the last year and are expected to continue to increase in line with inflation.

“In order for us to be able to continue to carry out the important heating, window and safety work that we know matters most to our customers, it was recommended by our board that we increase rents by 7% or 9%.

“If rents do not increase in line with inflation, certain work such as bathroom and kitchen replacements will need to be postponed to ensure we can focus on delivering priority maintenance work.”

Campaigners said tenants can’t afford rises.

Sean Clerkin, of the Scottish Tenants Organisation: “This is all unacceptable and we will be urging the Scottish Government to extend the rent freeze for a further year to help tenants who are struggling to survive during this terrible cost of living crisis.”