Hjaltland rents go up, but hike is capped at inflation rate

Hard-up Hjaltland Housing Association tenants will have to find an extra £3.40 a week to cover rent increases.

It comes after the association faced a backlash from some angry householders who blasted a proposed rent hike.

The increase will be applied from 1st April and is based on the UK inflation rate. This year the price rise includes a 0.5 per cent reduction to ease the financial pressure.

Tenants had been consulted on a proposed rent increase of four per cent. That prompted a Facebook page to be launched by one Hjaltland resident claiming that the increase was unfair. Peter McKay, of the Hill Grind scheme, previously told The Shetland Times “they [Hjaltland] are taking more than we can afford”.

Consultation responses were considered by the association’s management committee, which decided to set aside rent policy and approve the inflation-only increase.

Of those who responded to the consultation about five per cent complained that the proposed increase was too high.

In a statement the association said that while it sympathised with those “whose income had not increased to match inflation in recent years they acknowledged that the association’s costs had continued to rise in excess of inflation”.

Committee members also noted that 70 per cent of respondents felt their rent offered good value for money.

Hjaltland’s chief executive Bryan Leask said: “The association’s policy is to increase its rents each year by inflation plus half a per cent to cover the cost increases that we continue to face.

“Whilst I understand that any increase in rents will have a financial impact on our tenants, the decision taken by the management committee to limit this to inflation only will hopefully minimise its effect. We are continually working to find ways to deliver our services in a more effective and efficient manner while continuing to offer the high level of service our tenants have come to expect.”

He said tenants would be notified of the change soon and urged anyone with financial worries to contact their housing officer. He said there was also a financial inclusion service that can “help with budgeting and benefit entitlement checks, as well as being able to signpost to external agencies that may be able to provide additional help and support”.


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