Council tenants living in Dundee can expect an inflation-busting rent increase of at least 3% next year under plans going out to consultation today.
And Dundee City Council bosses have conceded that recent reforms to housing benefit means the rise is likely to have a negative impact on lower-income households.
The administration will ask those living in local authority homes to choose either a 3%, 3.5% or 4% rise to come into effect from April next year.
The average increase on weekly rents would £2.28, £2.65 or £3.03.
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Warden costs for sheltered housing are also set to increase by 3%, from £27.75 to £28.58.
Draft papers seen by the Tele show that the 3% is suggested as the minimum needed to “deliver current levels of service”.
But the consultation paper also warns: “Changes due to welfare reform may impact the amount you are paid (in benefits).”
Tenants will be able to give their views at consultation events throughout next month and December. Labour group leader Kevin Keenan says residents should make their voices heard.
“I am sure most people would like there to be no rent increase at all but we know that would be difficult with the level of investment the council has made in energy efficiency,” he said.
“But people will want any increase to reflect their living costs. We will be discussing it as a group tomorrow.”
The authority has spent millions in recent years on insulation and other energy efficiency measures as well as new smoke and heat alarms for council tenants.
The proposed rent increases are lower than those offered up last year when the council proposed rent rises of 3.75%, 4% or 4.25%.
It was criticised for only offering to scrap the much-hated shower charge if residents stomached a higher rent hike.
However, a successful campaign by the Dundee Pensioners Forum – backed by the Evening Telegraph – led to the council rejigging its loan repayments to scrapping the charge at no cost to residents.
The proposals are above the current rate of inflation of 1.7%. However, the council uses the rate at which staff pay increases – currently 3% a year – when calculating rent hikes.
A council spokesman said: “The paper will be considered at neighbourhood services committee on Monday October 28.”
The council marked Challenge Poverty week this month.