West Dunbartonshire housing tenants are to benefit from a new £50 million investment package that aims to improve living standards in thousands of homes across the authority.

The funding, invested over the next five years, will maintain all current services that tenants receive, continue the New Build housing programme and deliver capital investment in existing homes, including a drive to eliminate damp and mould.

A tenant priority budget – which allows tenants to direct spending on community improvements – of £800,000 will also be retained.

These improvements will be partially funded by a five per cent rent increase – equating to an average rise of £4.22 per week – agreed by elected members at the meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council on March 1.

In addition, a fund of £565,000 has been set aside for direct financial assistance to support the most disadvantaged tenants impacted by this rise over the course of the next financial year.

Councillor Gurpreet Singh Johal, convener of the council’s housing and communities committee, told the chamber: “Our commitment is to provide quality homes that people want to live in and this significant investment will make a positive difference to the lives of tenants across West Dunbartonshire.

“We will consult closely with tenants and the West Dunbartonshire Tenant and Residents Association to ensure that the money is spent where it’s needed most.

“The five per cent increase in rent still represents good value for money for tenants while also allowing us to improve living standards throughout our communities. 

“To put this in perspective, this extra investment will mean the delivery of new heating systems to over 1000 homes every year, an additional 350 kitchen replacements, 280 bathroom replacements and 260 extra window and door replacements.”

The council also says it will use some of the funding to invest in its Buy Back scheme, a programme to purchase additional housing on the local market to help with housing needs, particularly for those with larger families.

Committee vice convener Hazel Sorrell added: “We are committed to continuing this progress with a range of initiatives which support increased demand for homelessness support, requests for larger homes and the additional needs of tenants.

“This significant further investment supports the council’s plans to continue to deliver value-for-money services for our tenants – including a reactive repairs service and the rollout of a range of improvements and upgrades to homes.

“Each of these improvements will be of benefit to tenants, as well as enhancing communities for the good of West Dunbartonshire as a whole.”