Council House Rent Setting Policy to be Updated
Orkney Islands Council's Housing Service is looking for tenant views on its updated rent setting policy.
The rent setting policy is used to work out how much rent a council tenant will need to pay for the type of property they are living in.
Points are assigned to different criteria and then currently a charge of £0.4013 is made per point. This includes things like the type of property i.e.house/bungalow/flat, the number of bedrooms and access to outside space like parking or a garden.
Consideration is also given to where the property is. Kirkwall properties retain all of their points value, with a 5% reduction for a house in Stromness, a 10% reduction for elsewhere on the mainland, a 15% reduction for the inner isles and a 25% reduction for the outer isles. A 25% rental premium is charged on new build properties.
Affordability is also taken into account to ensure that rents aren't set at too high a proportion of an average weekly income.
The policy is being updated in response to a number of changes to the Council's housing stock. The Council has built over 200 new houses since 2010 and needs to ensure that the policy still fits with this stock. For example there are now more houses with 4 or more bedrooms and more houses with a second bathroom or a utility room. There's also changes locally and nationally on whether a box-room counts as a bedroom or as an 'additional facility'.
The main changes proposed to the policy are a rise in points for houses with five or more bedrooms, an additional 5 points for a house with a second bathroom or utility room and an additional five points for a box room. The affordability criteria has also been set at 20% of average household income. Finally there’s a proposal to change the definition of recently built properties from “new builds” to “properties built more recently than 2010”.
Frances Troup is the Council's Head of Housing, Homelessness and Schoolcare Accommodation Services. She said: "We are keen to ensure that all tenants have the opportunity to participate and therefore we have sent an individual letter to everyone.
“We would like to be sure that our tenants have had a chance to contribute to any proposed policy changes and therefore our policies are reflective of their views."
Council tenants will receive a letter and consultation papers shortly along with the annual consultation on the proposed rental increase. Included in their pack will be a freepost return envelope. Consultation responses need to be back with the Council by Friday December 15.