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New rent campaign launched by council

PUBLISHED: 15:15 16 November 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 01 August 2010

WAVENEY District Council's tenants are being urged to contact the housing team if they allow rent arrears to build up.

A new campaign, which aims to reduce the level of tenant arrears, highlights the need for customers to keep up with payments during the run up to Christmas.

WAVENEY District Council's tenants are being urged to contact the housing team if they allow rent arrears to build up.

A new campaign, which aims to reduce the level of tenant arrears, highlights the need for customers to keep up with payments during the run up to Christmas.

It also urges any tenants who are in financial difficulties to get in touch with the council to discuss a realistic payment plan.

As part of this initiative, the council will be making “high visibility” visits across the district to call on tenants with rent arrears, or who are not keeping to agreements to reduce their debts.

Councillor Sue Allen, portfolio holder for housing, explained: “The downturn in the economy is affecting everyone and the council is very aware that this could be having a disproportionately negative effect on our tenants.

“Nearly a fifth of tenants have arrears of differing degrees and with Christmas coming, we are reminding everybody both of their obligations to pay their rent and the role that the council can play in helping people avoid debt.

“Keeping up with rent payments is especially important at this time of the year, as trying to get mounting arrears under control in the new year can be a very difficult task, especially with all the additional bills that come in after Christmas. Building up rent arrears and not getting payments back on track may lead to court action and even eviction in very serious cases.

“The main aim of the council's rent arrears work is to prevent people getting into debt; for their benefit but also for the tenants who pay on time but may miss out on investment in their properties because of arrears elsewhere. The first thing to do, if you are having problems paying your rent, is to contact us. We can then offer advice about benefits or make other arrangements that may help. However, tenants are warned that a robust approach will be taken with those that choose to ignore their responsibilities.”

Housing's principal service manager, David Howson, added: “We encourage tenants to pay their arrears voluntarily rather than having to resort to further action and will always try to help those in need. Tenants may be entitled to additional benefits and we have organised special events to provide advice.

“However, if someone refuses to engage with us then we will continue with a robust line to ensure we receive the rent that is owed to us. As part of this latest campaign, we have set up high profile visits to those tenants that regularly default. This is only being fair to all those tenants that do pay on time.”

Tenants that believe that they are having difficulty with their rent should contact their housing officer urgently. Contact information can be found at www.waveney.gov.uk/housingofficers.

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