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Basildon Council introduce new policy to prevent and recover rent arrears

20 Nov Basildon Council introduce new policy to prevent and recover rent arrears

A new policy setting out how Basildon Council will prevent and recover rent arrears has been approved.

The updated policy takes into account changes in legislation affecting social housing tenants including universal credit, which was introduced in the borough last week. The single payment for people looking for work or on a low income replaces six key benefits.

The Rent Arrears Prevention and Recovery Policy, which focuses on early intervention, was approved by the Housing and Community committee on Tuesday 14 November. It relates to existing and former council tenants, as well as garages.

A proactive team will be responsible for setting up payment arrangements to stop debts from escalating, offering advice on benefit entitlements and making referrals for financial advice. A reactive team will serve possession notices and make court applications where necessary.

Cllr Kerry Smith, Chairman of Basildon Council’s Housing and Community committee, said: “The last thing we want to do is evict people from their homes and the only way we can avoid that is by increasing our communication with residents and making it clear that there are consequences for not paying rent. We recognise that tenants may experience financial hardship and need appropriate advice and support, but it is also crucial that we maximise income and recover money we are owed.”

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