Current Tenancy Arrears
The Housing Landlord Service has a duty to recover all rent owed to the council to fund those services. It is also required to maintain overall levels of outstanding rent within limits set by central government.
We understand that money problems sometimes occur, which means rent is not paid. If you think you may have difficulties paying your rent it is important that you contact the Income Service Team immediately and inform them of the situation. Arrears often become a major problem because people do not seek this help at an early stage. Ignoring the situation can only make matters worse.
Get in touch
If you get in touch immediately, an arrangement can be made for you to pay off an agreed amount each week. We can also give you advice on the benefits which you may be entitled to. If you keep to this agreement then no further action will be taken. If you don't get in touch with us or fail to comply with an agreed repayment plan, you will receive arrears letters requesting that you clear your arrears.
Failure to comply with an agreed repayment plan will result in:
- Service of a Notice of Seeking Possession. This is the beginning of a legal process to recover the debt and which ultimately may lead to the repossession of your home.
- If after four weeks your account is not cleared or the arrears are not reducing regularly, we will write to inform you that we are commencing Court proceedings against you. You will then be responsible for any legal costs.
- You will be notified of the date of the hearing and are advised to attend. We will ask the Court to suspend the Possession Order if you pay an agreed amount each week to reduce the arrears.
- If you then fail to keep to this Court Order, we will apply to the Court for a warrant to regain possession of your home. This means you will be evicted. Once you get to this stage you must clear all of your arrears and the legal costs to prevent the eviction going ahead. Payment must be by cash or bankers draft.
Rent payments should be considered a priority debt. Christmas or holidays are not considered acceptable reasons for non-payment. Remember, failure to pay your rent and subsequent possession proceedings can result in the loss of your home. The Council or other Registered Social Landlords generally have no obligation to re-house those evicted for non-payment of rent (not even if children are involved). You may be seen as intentionally homeless. For independent financial advice please contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau. (see contact details at the end of this page)
Managing your money
Area Housing Managers have received training in basic debt counselling and money advice.
This involves listing the total income and expenditure of a household. The aim is to establish whether you are claiming all the benefits to which you are entitled and to minimise unnecessary expenditure.
This allows identification of a realistic repayment schedule for those who have approached us due to difficulties in paying their rent. In cases of multiple debts the Area Housing Manager will refer you to the Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance.
We have a specialist advisor at the Citizens Advice Bureau who deals only with our tenants. You can be referred by your Area Housing Manager if it is thought that debt counselling will help you to resolve your problems. This will mean that you will be dealt with more quickly and you will receive impartial advice on financial matters.
The CAB offers a total debt service and can help you manager your debts effectively.
If you owe money to more than one organisation then they will help you to make realistic repayments. This will be done by drawing up a schedule and they are able to negotiate with the companies who you are indebted to.
They are also able to make sure that you are receiving the correct benefits to maximise your income.
We have also made arrangements for the advisor to attend the Winchester County Court at the time of possession hearings so that you can receive advice and support before the hearing. If necessary they will be able to accompany you to the hearing. In addition to debt matters, the CAB is able to offer advice and assistance on many other issues.
If you require further assistance you can contact a money adviser directly at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
The Winchester Centre,
68 St George's Street,
01962 848 000
01489 896 376
101 Leigh Road,
023 8061 3949
County Library Building,
01329 233 412
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|Late Tenancy Arrears||Details of what happens if you have outstanding arrears and wish to move or have moved.|
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