Anger at sheltered housing rent plans

A SUPPORT group for the area’s elderly has hit out at proposals from the local authority to increase rent charges on sheltered accommodation.

South Ayrshire Seniors Forum recently held discussions with senior council officers over the council’s proposal to increase rents in sheltered housing units.

Alex Baird, chairman, felt the proposal was unfair and said it was “easy and cowardly to prey on the weak and vulnerable”.

Mr Baird added: “If the elected members agree to this disgraceful proposal we will remember at the next election. Their proposal is to increase the rent paid by our elderly and infirm citizens occupying these units by an amount above the general increase to council tenants. This is totally unjustified and tantamount to bullying a section of our community who deserve better.

“Our elderly and infirm people should expect and receive some compassion and a caring response from their council, not more misery on top of increasing food prices, heat and lighting bills.”

However, South Ayrshire Council said no decision had been reached yet and it was only just consulting tenants about potential proposals.

Kenny Leinster, the council’s head of community care and housing, said: “We have carried out extensive consultations with tenants at all 19 of our sheltered housing complexes regarding a review of existing rent structures.

“The purpose of the review is to ensure all our tenants pay a fair and reasonable rent, reflecting the quality of the property they rent and the facilities and services they have access to.

“While it costs us more to manage and maintain sheltered housing than mainstream houses, sheltered housing tenants pay less rent than a tenant in a similar, non-sheltered, property. The gap is made up from the rents collected from all of our 8000-plus tenants.

“This is an inequality we have to address and our intention is to provide a report on this matter to councillors for their consideration before the end of the year.

“No decision will be taken until that time.”