Social landlords must challenge expenditure to ensure rents continue to provide value for money for tenants. This is the main finding of a new Report published today by the Scottish Housing Regulator.
The report is the outcome of the Regulator’s thematic review on rent increases by Scottish social landlords. It is published in the context of the announcement by the Scottish Government of a rent freeze for landlords in Scotland until the end of March 2023.
The report states that the average weekly rent was £85.36 in 2021/22 – that’s up by 1.8% from £83.84 on the previous year. The report states that landlords’ planned rent increases this year ranged from 0% to 6% and averaged 2.98% meaning every social landlord in Scotland applied a rent increase in April 2022 that was below inflation at that time and some did not apply any rent increases.
The Regulator’s report comes at a time when social landlords are starting the process to set rent levels for 2023/24.
Speaking of the report, Shaun Keenan, the Regulator’s Assistant Director of Financial Regulation, said:
“Keeping rents as affordable as possible for their tenants is a principal objective of all social landlords. And, in a context of rising inflation and significant pressures on the household finances of tenants, this objective has never been more important.”
“The forthcoming annual rent setting exercise, and potentially those for some years to come, is likely to be the most difficult that landlords have faced, in which they will need to consider rising costs and inflation while recognising the financial hardship that is a reality for many of their tenants.
“Landlords should continue to vigorously challenge every element of their expenditure to ensure that it is necessary; it is focused on delivery of outcomes for tenants and others who use their services, and that it represents value for money."
Speaking today to tenants at the Tenants Information Service Annual conference, and later with landlords at the EVH conference, Michael Cameron, the Regulator’s Chief Executive said:
“The Scottish Government’s recent announcement of a rent freeze is a clear demonstration of the importance it places on landlords keeping rents affordable, to help it achieve its social justice objectives on child poverty and fuel poverty. It is also looking to social landlords to invest significantly in tenants’ homes, including to improve energy efficiency and to decarbonise heating. In the context of a cost of living crisis for tenants and an emerging cost crisis for social landlords, the Scottish Government may need to consider what more it can do to help landlords to keep rents affordable and to continue to deliver for current and future tenants.”
Notes to editors
- The Scottish Housing Regulator was established on 1 April 2011 under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010. Its objective is to safeguard and promote the interests of tenants and others who use local authority and RSL housing services. The Regulator operates independently of Scottish Ministers and is accountable directly to the Scottish Parliament. It assumed its full regulatory responsibilities on 1 April 2012. The Regulator consists of the Chair and eight Board members. More information about the Regulator can be found on its website at housingregulator.gov.scot
- SHR sets out how it regulates social landlords in its published framework – Regulation of Social Housing in Scotland.