Residents of council houses in Renfrewshire will see a 6% rent increase in the coming year if councillors agree to a housing budget and capital plan next week.

Affecting 12,000 homes it comes after a report following “detailed consultation with more than 1440 tenants on rent levels and their priorities” set out plans for the rent hike.

The report will be considered by Renfrewshire Councillors when they meet to consider the council's budget next Thursday (29 February).

Councillor Marie McGurk, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities and Housing Policy Board, said: “I completely understand the challenges so many people are facing through the cost of living and proposing any rent increase is always a very difficult decision.

“We’ve listened to what our tenants have told us and their priorities for our investment. The proposed increase aims to remain among the lowest rental levels compared with housing associations in Renfrewshire and for more than three-quarters of our tenants, this increase is absorbed by housing benefit entitlement.

“However, if anyone is struggling to pay their rent, we have specialist support available including a tenant support fund.”

Councillor McGurk added: “Our housing service faces significant challenges to deliver a budget which maintains the levels of investment and service our tenants want.”

Despite the increase, the housing service faces significant financial pressure in the years ahead including the impact of inflation, material costs and availability, according to the council. 

They also added the rent increase was the “equivalent to an average of £5.45 more a week”.

Funding for improvements to more than 1200 council homes in the area will also be subject to approval of the council budget next week.

Investment of £41million is proposed for the next financial year (2024 to 2025). This will fund new kitchens and bathrooms, more energy efficient heating systems, replacement windows and roof repairs.

Some 700 homes would benefit from external upgrades covering cladding, guttering, roofs and windows, while a further 220 would see internal work in the form of kitchen and bathroom improvements along with electrical rewiring.

New energy efficient heating systems will be added at 300 properties and the funds will also be used to build new council houses and carry out improvements at high rise buildings and sheltered housing.

This work is part of a five-year investment totalling £281million which is set out in a detailed report which will be decided on next week along with the rent increase.

Councillor McGurk said: “I’m really pleased that despite such a difficult financial climate we’re able to put forward a plan which continues our commitment to modernise and improve council housing right across Renfrewshire.

“This includes the large-scale regeneration and renewal programme benefiting 1100 homes across eight areas.

“We’ve built more than 320 newbuild council homes in recent years, bringing people immense pride and joy, many with gardens and spacious kitchen and dining areas. More new homes are planned, strengthening communities and creating warm and welcoming places to live.”

New council housing has been built in Bishopton, Johnstone and Ferguslie Park in Paisley, while work is progressing on the £100million 10-year housing-led regeneration and renewal programme.

This programme, spans across eight areas, and the council maintain it is “delivering modern, high quality affordable council housing by improving current homes and building new ones”.