If you are unable to pay rent on the due date, you should contact the Association at the earliest opportunity. The sooner you notify us, the sooner we can assist you and avoid substantial arrears accumulating and the possibility of any legal action being considered. If your rent account is in arrears, it is possible to come to an amicable arrangement with the Association to reduce the debt. This can be done by
- Increasing your monthly payments for a set period of time.
- Making weekly payments in addition to your monthly rent.
- Paying both rent and arrears on a weekly basis.
The Association staff will ensure that an arrangement is made which is reasonable and within your means, taking into account any other debts you may wish to discuss.
REMEMBER - Persistent or high rent arrears can eventually lead to eviction so it is important that you contact the Association as soon as a problem with paying your rent arises - we are here to help you.
If you think you may be entitled to Housing Benefit you should complete an application with South Lanarkshire Council, Housing Benefit Section as soon as possible. The Council also operate the Q & A service that can be contacted for further Housing benefit advise and assistance.
South Lanarkshire Council
Tel. 0141 613-5300
South Lanarkshire Council
Question & Answer
Cambuslang Gate, Main Street
Tel. 0141 613-5407
If you currently receive benefit and your circumstances change, it is essential that the Association and South Lanarkshire Council are notified. This is particularly important when your benefit is likely to be reduced or stopped altogether.
We will consult you about any proposed increase in rent or service charge and have regard to your opinions before we make our decision. We are entitled to change the amount of rent and any service charge, as long as we tell you in writing at least four weeks before the beginning of the rental period when the change is to start. You have a right to a statement of our rent and service charge policy(See clause 8.4 of your tenancy agreement for more details).
If you are an existing tenant with the statutory right to have your rent registered with the Rent Registration officer, then you still retain this right. When determining a rent the Rent Registration Officer takes into consideration the size, age and condition of your house, the area it is in and other rents and amenities in the area. The financial circumstances of tenants are not considered.
Housing Benefit Overpayments
There have been a number of tenants penalised recently by having large amounts of Housing Benefit reclaimed by South Lanarkshire Council because of failure to report changes in circumstances. A reclaim of housing benefit is called an overpayment and the Association must pay back any overpaid housing benefit that has been requested by the Council. This often leaves the tenant in arrears and in many cases facing legal action as a result of the large balance within their account. In some cases South Lanarkshire Council will pursue the tenant directly and can consider a range of legal measures to recover money that they deem to have been fraudulently obtained by the tenant.
Just a reminder to anyone who experiences a change in their circumstances to report the change immediately to the Association and South Lanarkshire Council, Housing Benefit Section to ensure that housing benefit money is not reclaimed, causing arrears. Anyone facing an overpayment request should contact South Lanarkshire Council immediately to first check the accuracy of the request and then the Association to discuss the circumstances behind the request and make an arrangement to clear any outstanding balance.
Advice From Money Matters
South Lanarkshire Council provide a Money Matters service for anyone experiencing difficulties with financial commitments such as rent, mortgage, council tax, fuel payments, bank loans, credit cards or catalogues. Specialist money advisers can help by advising on all options available to you.
There are many reasons why someone falls into a serious debt problem, but the service offered by the Money Matters is impartial and won’t make any judgements about why you are in debt.
If you think that Money Matters can help you with Debt issues please give them a call to make an appointment on Tel 613 5445(Cambuslang) or Tel 613 5308(Rutherglen). You can be assured that the service is confidential and this service is provided by the council free of charge.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has also opened a Drop in Service within Rutherglen and Cambuslang Housing Associations office, every Tuesday between 10am and 1pm and 2pm to 3.30pm. No appointment is necessary, so please call in if you need any help or advice regarding Benefits Advice, Benefit Checks, Gas and Electricity Advice, Housing Issues, Family Issues, Debt Advice, Consumer Issues or Employment
The Association has always fully supported the concept of Home contents insurance and we try wherever possible to encourage people to consider taking out insurance to protect their belongings from Fire, Flood, Theft etc. If you are interested in finding out more about home contents insurance we can provide you with a leaflet and application form from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations - Please call our office if you wish to find out more about protecting your household possessions.