Rent and service charge arrears
If you run into any difficulties paying your rent, contact us immediately. If you are in rent arrears, there are many ways you can begin to sort out your situation:
Talk to your Income Management Advisor
Try and deal with any other debts
See if you can do anything to increase your income
Get help if you are having problems with Housing Benefit
Visit the National Debtline website for a free budget planner.
Talk to our Income Management team
Your Income Management Team is:
Alison Wade - Team Leader
Alison looks after properties in Great Cornard, Gestingthorpe, West Bergholt and Stanway and all Private Sector Leasing properties.
Tracie Barry - Income Management Advisor
Tracie looks after properties in Maldon, Heybridge, Southminster, South Woodham Ferrers, Braintree, Oakapple, Northfields, Great Horkesley, West Mersea and Wivenhoe.
Sue Emmet - Income Management Advisor
Sue looks after properties in Tendring (Clacton, Harwich, Kirby, St Osyth), Greenstead, Dedham, Ardleigh and Langham.
Gytha Mitchell - Income Management Advisor
Gytha looks after properties in Colchester including Hythe, Balkerne Heights, Propelair Way, Radial Court and St James Place.
Rachael Davey – Income Management Advisor
Rachael provides specialist advice for residents living in any area who occupy an Almshouse or a sheltered or supported housing property or who own their own home.
It doesn't matter how much you owe; we can help you sort it out.
Your Income Management Advisor can help you work out how much you can afford to pay back each week. It is important not to agree to pay back more than you can really afford. For independent advice, contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter.
For information on how we deal with rent arrears, including the process if we have to take you to Court, please see your Residents Handbook or contact our Income Management Team.
If you are experiencing money worries or finding it difficult to keep up repayments on your loans and credit cards - you need to get help as soon as possible. The Consumer Credit Counselling Service is a national charity with 18 years’ experience of helping people to get their finances back on track. If you need debt advice - CCCS can help. You can call them or access debt counselling online through the online tool - CCCS Debt Remedy.
To get advice on your arrears please contact:
Income Management Team Leader – Alison Wade Tel No: 01206 244759
Income Management Advisors - 01206 244723
Supported or leasehold advice – 01206 244741
For general queries contact our Customer Services Team on 01206 244700 or at email@example.com.
We can also assist you with your Housing Benefit application. For information on what benefits you may be entitled to, visit the benefits adviser page at www.benefits-adviser.direct.gov.uk
Important changes are taking place next year which will affect the amount of Housing Benefit some people can claim.
From April 2013, the government will restrict the amount of Housing Benefit payable to working age tenants if their property is larger than they require.
The Department for Work and Pensions estimates that this proposal will affect 670,000 Housing Benefits claimants nationally – this is approximately 32% of working age Housing Benefit claimants living in the social sector. At the moment, we understand working age to be people who are not yet entitled to claim Pension Credit – it is a changing date depending on when you become of pensionable age. The government intends to use the same size criteria to determine under-occupation that is used for Housing Benefit claimants who rent from private landlords. In April 2013 the Pension Credit age will be 61 years and 6 months.
What is a 'Spare' Bedroom?
Under the new rules if you have more bedrooms than the Government says you need, you will lose part of your housing benefit. The new rules mean you will be allocated one bedroom for:e
each adult couple
any other person aged 16 or over
two children of the same sex under the age of 16
two children under the age of 10 regardless of their sex
any other child
a carer (who does not normally live with you) if you or your partner need overnight care.
It does not matter how the ‘spare’ bedroom is used, the new rules will apply even if:
you and your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition
the main residence of your children is another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you.
What does this mean to you?
The government has set the reductions at 14% in Housing Benefit for one ‘spare’ bedroom and 25% for two ‘spare’ bedrooms. To find out if you will be affected by the bedroom tax, use the bedroom tax calculator.
Could this be you?
Mr and Mrs Smith live in a two-bedroom flat costing £70 per week in rent. At the moment housing benefit covers the full cost of their rent. Under the new rules they will have one spare bedroom. Their housing benefit will be reduced by 14% of their rent (14% of £70 = £9.80) Their housing benefit will be reduced by £9.80 to £60.20 per week. They will have to pay £9.80 per week towards their rent.
From April 2013, the benefits cap would reduce the total amount of welfare benefits a household can receive.
The amount of benefit will be restricted to the level of the average earned income after tax for working households – estimated to be £26,000 per year. The government has said that the total amount of benefit will be restricted to £500 per week (£2,166 per month) for couples and lone parent households, and £350 per week (£1,516 per month) for single adults. Capping will not apply to households that include someone who is receiving Disability Living Allowance or Working Tax Credit, or to people getting War Widows’ Pensions. This change will also not affect people who have reached pension credit age. The benefits cap will work by reducing Housing Benefit for those households whose benefit income is more than the cap.
Who will it affect?
The cap is most likely to affect households living in expensive areas and larger households, in particular those with four or more children. It could mean a reduction in Housing Benefit of between £12 and £70 per week, although some households could face bigger reductions. This means that households affected by the cap will need to decide how they are going to make up the shortfall. If they are unable to, it could result in them having to move to alternative accommodation which may not be available.
How we can help you
If you think any of the government’s proposed changes are going to affect you, please contact us and ask to speak to the Income Management Team who will be able to talk you through the changes and offer you practical advice and support on how to manage your income and what steps you can take. We will also regularly update this information with the latest information on welfare reform.
For more information, please click here.