Rents freeze for tenants

TENANTS across Falkirk district have been given a boost. Labour-led Falkirk Council has announced it will be freezing rents for another year this April.

Charges for lock-ups, garage site rentals, the Castings hostel and homeless property rents will also remain at the 2010/11 rates. The Council’s housing convener, Labour Councillor Jim Blackwood, said the housing department had built up “above-budget” reserves, allowing the freeze to go ahead.

He said: “We hope this will help tenants facing tough financial pressures in the current economic climate. The freeze will be fully funded from reserves, and won’t have an impact on rent levels in future years.”

Mr Blackwood said Government figures showed that the Council was charging some of the lowest rents in Scotland. It also spent some of the highest amounts per house on repairs and improvements. “I believe, while there’s always room for improvement, these statistics are something to be proud of,” he said. When Labour took over the Council in 2007, it faced
sharp criticism for the housing service left by previous SNP administration. A fairer allocations policy was introduced and new house building was started.

“The result is a much better housing department, that really delivers for people in housing need,” said Jim.

The Council has recently announced plans to improve the exterior of around 4,000 properties. Around 5,000 homes will get heating and insulation improvements over three years – with around 3000 properties getting electrical upgrades. There will also be estate improvements and other safety works carried out.

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