The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Pandg

Published: 02/03/2022

Thank you to the 345 tenants (that's a 26% response rate) who responded to Captain Discount's 2022 Rent Increase Consultation.  We’ll have the results up on the consultation microsite as soon as possible, watch this space.

And as with previous years, here are a few of the comments we’ve had this year.

The Good

“It's a lovely flat that I rent from ELHA & if there are ever any issues then Repair & Respond come out fairly promptly to get things back in working order.”

“Houses are beautiful and for the rent very worth it”

Our response: Thank you!

The Bad

“I do like my flat. I just feel that ELHA rents are a bit steep compared to similar ELC properties.”

“When comparing to private landlords, then excellent, however when compared to ELC housing, then not so good.”

Our response: We will always suffer in comparison to East Lothian Council rents – they are one of the cheapest social housing providers in Scotland.  But other local Housing Associations have similar rents to ours, and it’s not unusual for private lets to be more than double or triple the rent of a similar Housing Association tenancy. 

We do our best to give tenants the opportunity to reduce their rent, without reducing benefit entitlement through our Key Tenant Scheme.  Even just going Bronze can make a difference – an extra £5 a month in the tenant’s pocket, and reduced stationery and postage costs for us, and up to £300 a year Rent Discounts for our Platinum Key Tenants.  We remain the only housing association in the UK offering Rent Discounts like these - so make sure you claim yours!

The Ugly

“Inflation is going to be at its highest ever for years, but wages aren't following suit. The maths doesn't add up. What was ELHA's profit margin last year that it need another rent increase?”

Our response: We are a non-profit organisation and a Registered Scottish Charity overseen by a Management Committee made up of unpaid volunteers.  We do occasionally have a surplus when we don’t spend all of a budget – for example, due to lockdown procedures, we didn’t spend as much as expected on repairs in 2020/21, but that unspent money isn’t profit.  Those repairs which weren’t carried out in 2020/21 still needed to be done, and that money was spent getting caught up when the lockdown was lifted in early 2021/22.

The rent goes up by inflation because our costs go up by inflation.  If we don’t increase the rent, then we would have to cut services. And while cutting services might save money in the short term, it costs us more in the long term:  

Say we cut the Tenancy Support budget – now there’s no Money Adviser to help tenants access benefits and grants, so more tenants miss rent payments, more tenancies go to court and more tenancies fail.  Now the reduction in income and increased costs are more than we’d cut from the budget, and everyone is worse off than before.

Or if we reduced the planned maintenance budget by 10% - now tenants have to wait an extra couple of years to get a new kitchen. Yes, we’ve saved money in the short term, but there’s a lot of kitchens past their replacement date and they start to wear out.  An old kitchen means an increase in the number call outs to repair worn out fixtures and fittings.  Not to mention that those kitchens will still need to be replaced in the future; the cost is still going to be there, only now there’s an extra 2 years of repair calls to pay for.

We try our best to strike the right balance in all the financial decisions we have to take but there are lots of ways to influence our decisions making.  Make sure your voice is heard - just click the Join In button in your My Home account to find out more.

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