Tenants of Grampian Housing Association will see investment of over £17 million in their homes during 2024/2025.

Expenditure of £4.1 million is planned to improve homes that are due either increased energy efficiency measures including new heating systems and windows or new kitchens and bathrooms. £3.5 million will be spent on providing responsive and planned repairs to the entire housing stock of over 3,700 homes. Tenants and customers will also benefit from investment of £50k to improve digital access to the Association’s wide range of services. £10 million will be available to build a range of new homes for social rent including wheelchair accessible homes and family homes across Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City.

The Board of Management agreed a 7.7% rise in rents for 2024/25 following consultation with tenants. The rent increase will come into effect from 1 April 2024. All tenants were asked to consider two rent increase options of 7.7% or 8.7%. A response rate of 25% (848 tenants) was achieved, up from 18% last year. 90% of respondents selected 7.7% as their preferred increase. For a two bedroom property, the increase will mean an average monthly rent of £505 per month, an increase of £36.

Dr Abhi Agarwal, chairman of Grampian Housing said:- “The rent increase will pay for enhanced service levels for tenants, as well as help to manage the financial pressures being faced by the 18% increase in our operating costs due to the cost of living crisis.

“The last three years have been a period of significant challenge, with the Covid-19 pandemic, rising energy costs, increased inflation and interest rates and disruption to supplies of labour and materials. As a result, our expenditure rose by 18% last year (2023/24) for materials and labour to repair, maintain and improve tenants’ homes, energy costs, borrowing due to interest rates increasing significantly over the last 12 months and cost of living pay increases for staff.

“The Association also needs to pay for the implementation of Scottish Government policies such as meeting climate change obligations; for additional compliance requirements including tackling any reported incidences of condensation and mould, and carrying out electrical checks on all its properties. The rent increase will cover these additional costs.”

Craig Stirrat, chief executive of Grampian Housing Association said:- “We recognise that for many tenants, household finances are under pressure, and so affordability is vital when considering any increase in rent.

“We carried out an assessment and found that 86% of our residents could afford our proposed rents based on their income alone, without considering any housing benefit they receive.

“We remain committed to providing safe high quality homes and maintaining rent levels that are affordable whilst maintaining good performance and high levels of tenant satisfaction.

“Unfortunately, the Association is not immune to the rising costs that everyone has experienced over the last 12 months, and as a result this year’s rent increase proposal were higher than the options we have put forward in previous years.”

“Through our tenancy sustainment services and support fund, we offer a wide range of practical and financial help for tenants who need this.

“I would encourage anyone who is finding it difficult to pay their rent to contact us on 01224 202900 or email support@grampianhousing.co.uk to take advantage of the financial support that our money advice, housing support and energy advice projects can provide.”

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