Captain Discount’s Final Mission

9 Feb 2024


Over 30% of our tenants responded to Captain Discount’s Rent Increase Consultation.  A huge thank you to the 426 tenants who took part, with 79% of those supporting our proposals.  We will now take this to our Management Committee later this month, and confirm everyone’s increase in personal notifications we send out at the end of the month.  

After several years of below inflation rent increases, this year we consulted on an inflation+1% increase, and an increase in our Key Tenant Rent Discounts to offset part of the increase.  We remain the only Housing Association in the UK offering Rent Discounts, and we’re delighted that over 85% of our tenants receive one.  But if you could get a higher Rent Discount, now is the time to think about applying, to keep your personal Rent Increase even lower.

What Tenants Told Us:

It was great to see so many well-informed and constructive comments – it’s very rewarding to know we’re explaining things clearly, and getting rid of ‘jargon’ words only other housing professionals understand.  As always, we’ve pulled together a small sample of comments for you.

The Good:

"I appreciate the graphics and clear communication for a topic that is hard to understand if it's not your thing.

I also appreciate the discount and that you are keeping rents as low as possible beating the crazy inflation. Thank you"

Thank you!  It can be a bit of a dry topic, and we’ve worked hard to make our consultation microsite (and the leaflet for our offline tenants) easy to read and use.  With Captain Discount’s retirement though, we need to think of something else for next year!

The Bad:

“The rent should be kept the same for now and the priority should be ensuring the upkeep of the building is brought up to scratch. I’ve lived here for over two years now and the stairwell hasn't had a deep clean inside or out. The fortnightly cleaning is of a poor standard and repairs of the building are not done quickly or efficiently.”

Unfortunately, this is an example of where we’ve not communicated effectively.  The rent does not cover stair cleaning – this is a service only some tenants receive and is paid for via a Service Charge, which is completely separate from the rent.  The stair cleaning is a basic clean only, and deep cleans are only carried out every three years. To do this yearly would mean a much higher Service Charge.  In the past we have consulted with tenants if they want to pay more for a more thorough service, but this has never been popular.

As for repairs – see our Customer Service Standards article below for information on repair timescales.

The Ugly:

“I think you already charge a lot of money for tiny flats it's ridiculous that you are planning on charging more.

A decrease in rent as what you charge compared to the council is shocking for the tiny flats”

We are a Housing Association and a charity, and are funded in a completely different way to Council Housing. We may seem similar because we give the same type of tenancy but a lot of our services are very different.  We need to increase the rents to keep in line with rising costs so that we can continue to provide a first-class service.  

Unlike East Lothian Council, we are still repaying loans taken out to buy almost all our homes, and this accounts for 47% of what our rents have to cover.  

We did address some of the many reasons why our rents aren’t as low as East Lothian Council on the consultation microsite, and this is still available to read.

Consultation Information & FAQ 

It’s also important to make sure you are claiming your maximum Rent Discounts – visit your My Home account to find out more, or ask a member of staff.

We will have all the results available on once our Management Committee have had a chance to review the data, and read all the comments – with 426 responses, that’s quite a lot of comments!  A further news article will let you know when these are available.