A NEW rent structure for council house tenants will be introduced from April, with a 2.79 per cent increase in rents coming in to play, as decided by the local people.

But the rent will still be the cheapest for council tenants in Ayrshire and below the Scottish average of £70.55.

A major consultation exercise was undertaken last year with thousands of tenants as North Ayrshire Council sought to make the rent system fairer and more straightforward.

The current charging system is based loosely on size, type of property and the type of heating system installed and has resulted in more than 250 different rent levels.

This has caused disparity for many residents with some tenants living in smaller-sized properties paying a higher rental charge than tenants of a largersized property.

There are also examples of neighbours with the same size of property paying different rent charges due to historic discrepancies between the former Irvine Development Corporation and Cunninghame District Council.

Now the new system - which received support from tenants - will be implemented from April, 2018.

The new approved model results in a decrease for the majority of tenants in comparison to the current charging model.

The agreed annual rent increase of 2.79 per cent for 2018/19 has now been applied to this model.

North Ayrshire Council has written to all tenants with information on their new weekly rent charge.

The new rent model will not generate any additional income for the council.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet Member for Place, said: “When we launched our rent review, our aim was to ensure we have a system which is fair and transparent for our tenants.

“Due to historic charges, it meant that we had around 250 different rent levels and that was clearly not fair.

“More than 2,000 tenants took part in the consultation - which is the highest return of any consultation carried out by our Housing Services team – and that really helped shape how the new, simpler rent system would be implemented.

“The new model chosen by tenants is based on the size and type of property they live in and ensures no-one pays more or less than they should.

“In North Ayrshire, our tenants have rent levels which are below the Scottish average and neighbouring registered social landlords. The fact that the majority of tenants will actually pay less under our new model will reinforce our commitment to keep rent levels at a fair and reasonable level.”