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River Clyde Homes offers criticized rent increase

TENANTS living in some of the poorer parts of Inverclyde are facing a FIVE percent rent increase this Christmas – more than double the increase from last year.

Inverclyde’s largest public housing owner, River Clyde Homes, is facing a furious backlash from the bombshell.

They are asking residents to participate in a rent survey, with options on the table from a 4% increase.

Fiery community leaders have united to demand that RCH’s board of directors step in and force a turnaround.

Housing bosses blame the huge rise in inflation and the need to clear a backlog of repairs caused by the pandemic.

Councilor Colin Jackson, whose neighborhood covers some of the most disadvantaged parts of Greenock, said: “I call on RCH to stop this rent increase immediately.

“This is at a time when there is a serious cost of living crisis in our poorest communities. People face rising inflation and energy bills, cuts in universal credit, and problems finding jobs.

“There is evidence of an increase in food banks and payday loans among locals – but they think now is a good time to ask for higher rent.

“There are also too many tenants living in RCH houses that are in serious need of modernization and repair, with many tenants heading into winter with houses frozen over due to inadequate heating systems and drafts. . ”

People who have purchased RCH homes also face a 5% increase in factoring fees.

Councilor Jackson added, “A lot of the work they are billed for is either unnecessary or not done properly – and in many cases, it is grossly overpriced. ”

River Clyde Homes sent text messages asking residents to participate in the consultation.

In a message to tenants, they added: “It has been another difficult year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We think it’s important that you understand the continuing impact of the pandemic on our business planning and rent setting process for 2022/23.

“One of the main challenges for 2022/23 will be to keep rent levels affordable, continue to provide existing service levels to the extent possible and eliminate backlogs built up due to the pandemic. ”

River Clyde Homes added that they plan to invest £ 1million in new homes, £ 12.5million in existing stock and £ 1million to reduce fuel poverty.

Councilor Tommy McVey, who resigned from the board because of the proposed rent increase, called for action.

He said: “There is no way to suggest a different level of increase or no increase at all. I would like to know the position of the board on this.

“The council is accountable to the tenants and also the residents whose properties are considered by RCH. They should make a public statement about it as soon as possible. Their clients deserve nothing less.”