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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Marie Sharp

East Lothian council tenants reject 5% rent increase and call for freeze to continue

Three out of four East Lothian Council tenants who took part in a consultation on rent increases rejected a 5% rise - with nearly a third wanting it to stay the same.

The local authority planned the increase from April 2023 in its long term budget last year,.

But when they took the option to tenants as part of a consultation at the end of the year nearly 77% of tenants who took part rejected the high rise.

READ MORE: East Lothian's £11.3m levelling-up grant described as 'small beer' by MP

Instead 49 % gave their backing to an alternative option of 3% with 29% calling for a 0% rise.

The findings of the consultation have been published by the council in its members library service and revealed that 1, 566 responses came back - just over 17% of all council tenants.

The report on the responses said: "The information attached to the questionnaire explained the cost pressures for the council e.g. rising interest rates for borrowing, increased cost of materials for modernisation and upgrades and the costs of meeting increasing standards for climate change etc.

"The document highlighted that there had been no rent increase for the last two years due to the impact of the Covid pandemic and explained that a subsequent further rent freeze would impact the delivery of its current level of service and the capital investment programme.

"Tenants were given three options to consider, 0%, 3% and 5% and explained what these options would mean in terms of the planned modernisation and new build programmes."

The Scottish Government capped rent increases for private tenants at 3% for the coming year last month.

COSLA which represents local authorities in Scotland has agreed no council rents will go up by more than £5 a week.

East Lothian has one of the lowest rent levels in Scotland charging £71.41 a week for a three apartment home.

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