We understand that a rent review is never welcomed when the outcome can impact on your household spending. More than ever, I am acutely aware of the challenging circumstances that many of our customers face and have already endured. Covid has impacted us all in a profound manner that cannot be under estimated and this is reflected in your day to day feedback to our teams in your interaction with our services. More recent developments mean testing times lie ahead with utility costs on the rise, universal credit uplifts withdrawn, and the introduction of the new health and social care levy to consider.

Looking ahead, we are ambitious about our future and the outstanding services we aim to deliver to you and all our customers across Berwickshire. We have detailed some of these key priorities for you and continue to value your influence and engagement in steering our aims and objectives.

As ever, it is so vitally important we understand and listen to your feedback on our rent and service charges. I hope you value the opportunity to have your say and I look forward to reflecting on the feedback at the end of the consultation period.

Dan Blake
Operations Dirctor

• The chart above provides a breakdown of our actual expenditure in the financial year to March 2021, our forecast expenditure for the current financial year to March 2022, and our draft budgeted expenditure for the next financial year to March 2023
• Due to the impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic and restrictions accessing customer’s homes, we were not able to carry out all the planned and cyclical maintenance we had planned to, resulting in much lower expenditure on these types of work during 2020/21. We did, however, carry forward a lot of this work and expenditure in to 2021/22 and plan to spend £3.5m on upgrades to our homes during this financial year. We have made progress this year since the restrictions eased, and will continue working through the backlog next year.
• Planned and cyclical maintenance covers such things as replacements and upgrades to different parts of your homes such as; heating, windows, doors, kitchens and bathrooms. It also covers the things we need to do to ensure your homes are safe and compliant, such as annual gas maintenance, electrical testing, and gutter clearing.
• We are actively trying to improve value for money, with a particular focus on our staffing and overhead costs demonstrated by this section of the chart reducing between this year and next year (2022/23)

It is our aim to invest more money in improving our services and the safety, quality, and condition of your home. In order for us to do this, we are consulting on a rent increase of between 2.5% and 3% for 2022/23.

The rent consultation survey will run from the 9th November to the 29th November 2021. We will use your feedback and present your views to our Board of Trustees, who will then consider these and make a final decision on the increase at their meeting in January 2022.

You will then receive a formal notification letter at least 28 days prior to any new rent and service charge being applied to you, effective from 4th April 2022.

The consultation approach was presented to our Scrutiny Panel on the 28th October prior to being approved by our Audit and Finance Committee on the 2nd November 2021.

Question 1

Do you think our rents are affordable in comparison to other housing options within the Scottish Borders?

Question 2

Do you think that we offer ‘Value for Money’

Question 3

What does ‘Value for Money’ mean to you?

Question 4

Which rent increase option would you agree with to allow us to continue improving homes and the community?

Question 5

If BHA were to set longer term rent proposals (i.e. cap any increase level over that period) replacing the annual review process, what timeframe would be best considered?

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