Paying your rent
Paying your rent and other charges is a condition of your tenancy. If you do not pay, you will have broken your tenancy agreement with us. We use the rent we collect from all our tenants to repair and improve homes and neighbourhoods. We write to you every year to tell you how much rent you should pay. We charge you rent for your home and any other services which you may use.
Paying your Rent
Your weekly rent payments are due every Monday and must be paid in advance for the week ahead. If you prefer, you can contact us on 01476 406080 to discuss alternatives such as fortnightly or monthly payments.
We will send quarterly rent account statements only to tenants who have fallen behind with their rent payments (are in arrears). All tenants will receive a rent statement at the end of the financial year. Your statement will show payments made by you, housing benefit payments and other adjustments, and will show the balance of your account. If you have any queries about payments made please contact customer services on 01476 406080.
If you have paid too much rent, you can leave the credit on your account to offset future charges or you can ask for a refund. If you have other debts outstanding with the Council we may transfer all or part of the credit to clear these debts.
The Rent Free weeks for April and December 2013 are;
- w/c 1 April 2013
- w/c 8 April 2013
- w/c 16 December 2013
- w/c 23 December 2013
You can pay your rent:
- By direct debit. We offer two payment date options of 1st and 15th of the month. Please fill out and return our direct debit mandate [79kb] , or call us on 01476 406080 to arrange.
- Using the internet - Pay Now
- By debit or credit card - please call 0845 234 0038 to use our automated payment line
- By cheque - post to South Kesteven District Council with your name, address and rent account number on the back of the cheque or hand in at one of our offices
- By cash at an Allpay outlet. Please contact our customer services team on 01476 406080 to request an Allpay card.
Problems paying your rent - help available
Please contact customer services on 01476 406080 as soon as possible if you are having difficulties paying your rent. We want to work with you to solve the problem.
How we can help:
We will try to help you by:
- Discussing your circumstances with you before your arrears become too serious
- Giving advice on any welfare or housing benefits you may be entitled to
- Putting you in touch with other agencies that can offer you support, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Shelter,Job Centre Plus, National Debtline and the Consumer Credit Counselling Service
- Setting up a voluntary arrangement for you to pay regular amounts off your arrears.
What we will do if you don't pay your rent
- We will contact you asking you to pay the outstanding amount or if you can't do this to contact an Income Recovery Officer
- Where possible we will make an agreement with you to help you clear the debt
- We will visit you at your home to discuss the situation. If you are not in we will leave a card to say we have called
- If you ignore our attempts to contact you, remain behind with your rent payments, or do not keep to an agreed payment plan, we will begin legal proceedings against you.
Legal proceedings could lead to you being evicted from your property. The legal procedure differs for secure and introductory tenants.
You should have been given information about claiming Housing and Council Tax Benefit, together with the necessary forms, when you signed up for your tenancy.
You are responsible for providing the information to make payment of Housing and Council Tax Benefit possible. If you need help with this, please contact us on 01476 406080.
If you do not return your application, or do not provide any requested information on time, we may not be able to pay benefit from the start of your tenancy.
Our first step towards legal action will be to send you a Notice of Seeking Possession. If you do not make an arrangement to pay the arrears within four weeks of the Notice being served, or if arrangements are broken, we will apply to the County Court for a Possession Order. You will be asked to attend a court hearing, which can lead to:
- A Court Order to clear the arrears and to pay our legal costs
- A County Court Judgment against you, which may affect your future credit rating
- Eviction from your home, if you do not pay what the Court tells you to pay.
The court usually grants one of two types of possession order:
Suspended Possession Order
If an agreement to pay your arrears is reached, and you keep to the agreement, no further action will be taken. Breaking the agreement could lead to eviction.
Outright Possession Order
Unless you have cleared your current rent arrears and the court costs by the date in the Court Order we will apply for a bailiff's warrant to evict you.
You have the right to apply to the County Court to suspend the eviction if you are a secure tenant. The County Court will set a hearing date. You will be required to attend the hearing and an Income Recovery Officer from the Council will also attend. The Judge will listen to you and the Council and decide whether the eviction is to go ahead.
An introductory tenancy usually lasts for 12 months. We will monitor your rent account and contact you if you do not pay the rent on time. If you do not clear the rent account or make an arrangement and keep to this, you will be issued with a Notice of Proceedings for Possession.
You have the right to request a review of our decision to serve the Notice. The request must be made within 14 days of the Notice being served.
If you have not asked for a review, or if the review has upheld the decision to issue the Notice, we will apply to the court for possession.
The Court will normally give possession of the property to the Council and if you do not leave by the date in the court order we will apply to the court for a bailiff's warrant to evict you.
Applying for Housing Benefit
Housing Benefit is paid by the Council to help you pay your rent. The amount you get depends on your circumstances, who lives with you, the amount of income you receive and the amount of savings you have.
You should have been given information about claiming Housing and Council Tax Benefits, when you signed up for your tenancy. If you wish to apply for Housing Benefit you should speak to a Benefit Assessor on 01476 406080. You may be required to provide evidence to support your claim and you will be asked to hand this in to the office as quickly as you can. If you delay in providing the information we may not be able to pay benefit from the start of your tenancy.
Change of Circumstances
If you are receiving Housing Benefit and your circumstances change you must tell us straight away. Please call the benefits office on 01476 406080. The types of changes you must tell us about include:
- If your income goes up or down
- If you start a new job, or you have lost your job
- If someone moves into or out of your home
- If you move house
Please remember that you are responsible for making sure you pay your rent on time. Housing Benefit may not pay all of your rent so you will need to pay the difference each week. You can also get independent advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Housing Benefit Fraud
Most people who receive help with their rent and council tax are in genuine need. However, there are people who do not provide us with correct information about their personal circumstances, or fail to tell us of a change in their circumstances.
You are committing benefit fraud when you knowingly give false or misleading information to:
- Obtain a payment to which you are not entitled
- Obtain a greater payment than that to which you are entitled.
If we find an incorrect payment or fraud of any kind, we will ask you to explain why it happened. Any overpayments will have to be repaid.
If you believe a person to be claiming fraudulently, please call the Fraud Hotline on 01476 406261, email firstname.lastname@example.org, write to South Kesteven District Council, Benefit Investigations Section, St Peter's Hill, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6PZ, or speak to a member of our benefit investigations team at the main council offices.
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