How do Housing Associations deal with tenants who fall behind with their rent and what you can do to avoid this.
The Housing Association is reliant upon rental income to pay for the services that it delivers to its Housing Association tenants. If rent arrears increase it does have a definite effect on the services that the Housing Association tenants receive. For that reason it is critical that rent arrears levels are kept to the minimum.
If a tenant falls into arrears the Housing Association is sympathetic and will permit repayment of those arrears by instalments. However, the most important thing is that a person falling into arrears should make contact with the Housing Association.
The Housing Association can only assist in solving the problem if the tenant contacts us to let us know what the problem is. If arrears continue to rise, and the Housing Association can see no prospect of that changing, then the Housing Association does have to take its tenants to Court.
At the Court the Housing Association will normally ask for what is termed a 'Suspended Possession Order'. That is where the Court orders that the tenant must start paying the rent and a small amount per week, fortnight, or month off of the arrears. Tenants are encouraged to attend Court, should they be summoned. Even at this stage the Housing Association would much prefer to have the problem of the arrears resolved rather than have the tenant evicted.
If a person has a Suspended Court Order against them the Housing Association would still wish to know if the tenant encounters any difficulty in making payments. We will exercise some discretion, rather than just seeking to evict.
Regrettably, there does come a time when the Housing Association appears to be faced with no alternative but to evict a tenant. This is very much a last resort and it is not an action taken lightly by the Housing Association. If a person is evicted they do have a right to make an appeal to the Housing Association as being homeless. Whilst every case has to be dealt on its merits the Housing Association may well argue that if a person had the ability to pay the rent, but did not do so, then they may be considered to be 'intentionally homeless' and the Housing Association would have no obligation to rehouse them. That would apply even where there are children in the household. For this reason it is very important that tenants deal with arrears issues at an early stage and the Housing Association are always happy to give help and advice at an stage in an arrears problem.
When a person leaves a Housing Association tenancy they become known as a 'former tenant'. If there are arrears at the end of the tenancy the Housing Association will continue to pursue these. In practice, this may mean summonsing the former tenant to Court to get an Order for payment. However, the addition of court costs against the former tenant makes this an expensive option for the former tenant. In practice, we would much rather negotiate repayment by instalments if clearing the debt in a single payment is not possible. As always, it is important that people contact our Housing Association to discuss these issues so that a mutually convenient solution can be negotiated.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tel: 01803 208723
- Fax: 01803 208282