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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Marie Sharp

East Lothian council rent increase could be up to 5% as consultation to start

Council tenants in East Lothian will be asked to approve a rent increase of up to 5% from April when the Scottish Government freeze in a rise is expected to be lifted.

Members of the council's administration will be asked to approve a consultation on rent prices which is due to start on Tuesday next week at a meeting on the same day.

The consultation will ask whether tenants would prefer no increase, a 3% increase or a 5% increase and it will outline the case for each option.

READ MORE: East Lothian parking plans could see North Berwick residents pay £40 for permits

In a report to cabinet officers say freezing the rent for another year even with a 5% increase over the following two years will be unaffordable unless other savings are identified such as "reducing service levels or significantly reducing the ambition of the council’s modernisation and new build programme".

It says a 3% increase followed by 5% increases over the next two years would still require a reduction in the council's plans and future investment in its housing stock.

However it says a 5% increase annually over the next three years would "mainly allow current levels of service and investment in our stock and new build programme to be maintained".

In the report, officers point out that rent in East Lothian remains among the lowers local authority charges in Scotland and is on average 42% lower than Edinburgh, 17.6% lower than Midlothian and 12% lower than West Lothian and Fife.

However they also recognise the cost of living crisis and impact it has had on local residents.

It says: "Whilst understanding the cost pressures facing our tenants, the council is also facing significant pressures with increasing costs around borrowing, materials and labour for our new build programme, repairs and maintenance programmes and improving our tenant’s homes."

The Scottish Government introduced a rent freeze across the country earlier this year but it is due to be lifted at the start of April.

Officers says they want to be ready to introduce an increase, if approved, when it lifts with the consultation due to run until December 16 and results to go before council in February.


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