Our tenancy agreement outlines the responsibility of all council tenants to pay their rent.
Rent is payable weekly in advance.
Rent must be paid weekly, monthly, or at any other interval agreed by the rents team.
Rent and other services charges are due for every week of the year; there are no rent free periods.
There are a range of methods through which rent payments can be made including direct debit, online, standing order, over the telephone and Allpay cards. For tenants in need of financial assistance with their rent payments, they can apply for support from Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.
We will inform all tenants in writing four weeks before any changes are made in respect to the amount of rent or service charges required to pay.
We will notify you in writing if you are in rent arrears.
We will send you an annual rent statement detailing your balance and payment throughout the previous 12 months.
We may send you a text message if you fall into arrears to prompt you to arrange payment.
We may telephone you to discuss your rent accounts and payments.
An incremental approach to debt recovery will be followed by Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, in line with the pre action court protocol as detailed in appendix one. The council may apply to the County Court to seek possession of a property in persistent cases of non-payment of rent. The council may also seek a Money Judgement Order to recover any debts owed.
The council will attempt to recover any legal costs incurred.
Your rights and responsibilities
If you fall into arrears at any time during the tenancy, you may lose the right to re-join the housing register and move to alternative accommodation, or you may become ineligible to receive an offer of alternative accommodation.
You will not be permitted to mutually exchange your property if you are in rent arrears.
All tenants must keep to any arrangement made in respect to other costs such as arrears following a management move, rechargeable repairs, court costs, and support charges. Before terminating a property, an arrangement to repay any debt owed should be made, along with the provision of a forwarding address.
Should any tenant be required to vacate their property (decant) and move to alternative accommodation the tenant will still be liable for rent. The amount due will not exceed their current monthly rent.
Should a person be subject to a licence agreement a charge for occupation will be incurred.
Our approach to rent collection
Our approach is one which seeks to balance support with enforcement. All introductory tenants will be offered the intensive support from our Introductory Tenancy Officer to help meet their tenancy obligations and succeed in their first year of tenancy.
Support is available to all secure tenants from the Rents Team and Tenancy Support officer.
Our management of all rent cases seeks to:
- Take early action in every case
- Provide up-to-date rent account balances
- Document all actions and conversations on our housing management system
- Write rent arrears letters in plain English
- Agree negotiated payments based on the tenants income and reasonable expenditure
- Offer first stage debt counselling advice in conjunction with Citizens Advice
- Support our tenants to receive housing benefit or universal credit
- Work closely and collaboratively with external partners, such as the Department of Work and Pensions, to prevent debt and legal sanctions being progressed
- Facilitate debt repayment over an extended period for those in financial hardship
Joint tenants are jointly liable for rent payments and any rent arrears on the account.
For joint tenancies we will:
- Address all letters to all the tenants named in the tenancy agreement
- Make agreements and hold interviews with any person who is acting on behalf of all parties in the tenancy agreement
- Provide a copy of all legal documents to all parties named in the tenancy agreement
During the introductory period, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council will monitor the tenancy and, if it is deemed that the tenant has breached the tenancy through non-payment of rent, may seek possession of the tenancy.
Tenants who have not complied with their tenancy agreement, in respect of rent repayment, will be provided with written notifications and warnings at the earliest opportunity. Any decision to end or extend the tenancy will include an opportunity for the tenant to apply for a review of the decision made.
Section 125A of the Housing Act 1996 (legislation.gov.uk) enables the council to extend the period of an introductory tenancy for a further period of six months if necessary. An extension of the introductory tenancy period may be sought if the tenant has failed to comply with one or more conditions of the tenancy agreement.
A tenancy ready approach
All housing applicants, who have been placed in temporary accommodation by the Housing Options Team, will be offered additional support from the housing service in order to prepare them for their new tenancy and this support will continue into the beginning of their tenancy.
The housing service, in conjunction with other partners will facilitate a range of supportive options and bespoke support to new tenants throughout their first year of tenancy.
All interviews, at tenants’ homes or in the Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council offices, must be sensitive and non-threatening. They should take place in private and be confidential.
For interviews without prior appointments at the tenant’s home, in the office or over the phone, the tenant(s) will be informed a rent interview is to take place. If it is not convenient for the tenant to discuss rent details, an alternative appointment should be agreed and documented.
Failure by the tenant to agree or keep a subsequent appointment will be deemed as approval to move to the next stage of the rent arrears policy, unless there is good cause not to do so.
All interviews will be documented, and the key points confirmed in writing or via a rent arrears agreement.
For interviews in your home, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council staff will:
- Introduce and identify themselves with ID cards
- Explain the purpose of the visit
- Ensure there is adequate privacy for the tenant
- Ensure that, where considered necessary for example, for some elderly or vulnerable tenants, that a family member or carer is present
- Make a suitable referral if other vulnerabilities are noted. Such as to Adult Social Care or the Tenancy Support Officer
- Alternative arrangements may be provided if you are suffering from COVID-19, and following any government directives regarding shielding
Last updated:15/01/2024 16:23