- We will provide full details on how rent and charges are set in a leaflet called Rent Charges Explained which is on the website and available from our housing offices
- Each year we will increase our rents by no more than is set in the national guidance issued by the government and agreed by the council
- We will set other charges for services to cover the costs of delivering these services, and increase or reduce them to reflect any changes to the costs of those services.
We will help you manage your account by:
- Sending you each quarter a written statement of your account, within 10 days of the end of the quarter
- Sending you statements of accounts at other times when you ask for these within five working days
- Dealing with phone queries about accounts on the spot if appropriate or otherwise by sending you information within five working days
- Providing guidance to our staff to ensure that confidentiality is maintained on rent accounts particularly when a phone enquiry is made and also at other times
- Responding to requests for rent references from outside agencies such as building societies within five working days (where tenants have given authorisation).
Help tenants with their rents by:
- If they are entitled to Housing Benefit, working out approximately how much this will be before the tenancy starts
- Helping them to complete Housing Benefits and other forms to claim benefit entitlements
- Ensuring they have a rent payment card received by postage within two weeks of request or sign-up
- Providing advice and support if we agree it is likely that they will have problems managing their budget and paying rent
- By appointment provide time outside normal office hours when tenants in arrears can talk to someone dealing with arrears.
Giving you a choice of ways to pay your rent including:
- Standing order
- Direct Debit including a choice of five working days on which it can be collected
- By telephone
- Cash paid at the cash office
If you get into arrears we will take action when tenants fall behind with rent which is prompt and helpful including:
- Taking all reasonable steps to make personal contact with you in the week following the date when two weeks arrears have built up
- Writing to you when two weeks arrears have built up to tell you about ways of getting help with paying rent and with dealing with debt
- Focusing at all times on talking to you throughout the time your account is in arrears as well as writing to you
- Setting out our approach to paying rent and dealing with arrears in the leaflet Rent Charges Explained.
Make repayment agreements to clear arrears which:
- Take into account your income and spending each week
- Are confirmed in writing so there is no doubt what is agreed
- And we will not take any further action for as long as the agreement is fully kept to.
Ensure that if needed tenants obtain advice on managing debts by:
- Where possible referring people to debt advisors with whom we have arrangements
- Otherwise by putting people in contact with local agencies or helplines where debt advice is available.
Only take the steps involved in legal action after giving advance warning in writing that will be done; this includes where we:
- Serve Notice of Seeking Possession
- Apply for a court hearing to get a Possession Order
- Apply to have a Possession Order carried out (an eviction)
- Provide a summary of our performance on rent collection each year in the newsletter and at all times on the website
- Review with residents each year the ways in which we deliver rents services, and especially the standards above, and tell you how this review will be done.