Well done to tenants and the housing team

Winchester City Council housing tenants continue to be among the best rent payers in the country.

In the last year, Council house rent arrears have remained below one per cent of all rent due. This is significantly lower than other Hampshire landlords and is one of the best in the country.

The Council collects approximately £19million of rents for 7,000 properties and garages each year and has successfully maintained a similar level of performance for the last four years.

Head of Landlord Services Richard Botham said: "The Council's Rent Collection and Arrears service is designed to assist tenants to regain financial control, using eviction as the last resort only after all other remedies for arrears control have been made."

City Council officers work hard to ensure that tenants do not fall into arrears. Arrears prevention work begins before tenants even move into their property. They are given information and advice about how and when to pay their rent and what their responsibilities are under their tenancy agreement.

They also receive assistance with Housing Benefit applications and other benefit entitlements, signposting to local debt and welfare advice services such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, and support for vulnerable tenants using the supported housing service.

Cllr Tony Coates, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: "A big thank you must go to all tenants who have kept their rent up-to-date throughout the year, to Housing Management staff, as well as the Citizens Advice Bureau who continue to provide advice and support to tenants experiencing financial difficulties."

Alan Rickman, joint Chair of tenants' representative group TACT, added: "TACT wishes to pass on thanks to the Council for their success and to all housing staff involved in chasing arrears."