COUNCIL house tenants in North Ayrshire are to be hit with an inflation-busting rent rise in the new year.

Tenants are being asked for their views on two options for rent rises for the 2024-25 financial year.

One is for a 6 per cent increase - an average of £4.97 a week - which North Ayrshire Council (NAC) says will "maintain the current levels of investment in homes, in new build homes and our current service levels".

The other option is a 6.5 per cent increase - an average of £5.38 a week.

NAC says that in addition to maintaining current levels of investment and services, this larger rise would enable it to buy back additional properties from the open market - with a target of at least 35 additional 'buy-backs' by March 2027.

The latest 'consumer price index' measure of UK inflation was 4.6 per cent for the year to October 2023.

Whichever option for the higher rents is eventually chosen, it will come into effect in April.

The council says the average planned rent increase for each of the 29 remaining years of its 30-year plan is currently 3.84 per cent.

A consultation has opened on the two options, with tenants able to give their views until early January.

The average NACrent is currently £77.78 a week, compared to the Scottish average of £87.59.

Councillor Tony Gurney, NAC's cabinet member for green environment and economy, said: “We are doing everything we can to ensure the rent level options are as low as possible while maintaining service levels.

"We are continuing to invest in maintenance, energy efficiency, refurbishment and new build council housing.

“We are making every effort to get the right balance between ensuring residents have affordable rents whilst delivering high-quality services and improvements to our housing stock, by upgrading our existing homes and building new properties.

“That’s why we’re very keen that our tenants make their voices heard. We are consulting on two options for rent levels for next year and we encourage tenants to tell us what they think before any decision is taken.”

Tenants can take part in the consultation online until January 7 by visiting and taking the short survey, which the council says should take around four minutes to complete.