Your circumstances may have changed due to unemployment, bereavement, disability or ill health, a relationship breakdown or a change to your benefits.
If you are struggling to pay and you find yourself falling behind the most important thing to do is let us know.
The earlier you make contact with us about your rent then the easier it will be for you to get out of arrears. We can make an affordable repayment agreement to help you to pay off your debt in instalments.
Debt will not go away unless you deal with it. Please remember that you will be at risk of losing your home if you don’t manage your arrears debt.
You may be aware of recent changes to the benefit system and might be wondering what this will mean for you and your current situation.
Langstane Housing Association are here to provide you with the information you need to make informed choices regarding your benefits and to prevent any confusion or mishap from occurring. If at the end you have further questions about Universal Credit or if you would like help with an application for this benefit you can contact our Tenant Welfare Advisor who is available to provide free help and advice to our tenants.
Universal Credit is there to provide the same benefit service you may have received under the old benefit system however now payments will be covered by one benefit instead of being split in to several smaller benefits.
The benefits included in UC are Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.
UC is also geared towards online use meaning applications and management of the benefit will all be done through an online account. This benefit is a Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) benefit and will be managed by the Job Centre.
Eventually Universal credit will be rolled out to anyone who is claiming one of the previously mentioned benefits but this will take sometime to establish. The benefit is instead being phased in by areas, claimants in Full service areas who are making a new claim for a income related benefit will have to make a claim for UC, If a claimant is already under the old benefit system however they will remain on that benefit for the time being. People still on the old system will be asked to move over to UC in time and they will be notified by the DWP when the time comes to do this. Claimants may also be asked to move if a change of circumstances may have changed their benefit entitlement to a new benefit.
Universal Credit was intended to be paid in single monthly payments directly to the claimant but recent changes by the Scottish government allows claimants some options to how they receive their UC. Tenants of housing associations such as Langstane are able to ask that their housing element go straight to the landlord to pay the cost of rent. Also if you find monthly payments difficult to manage you can also request to have your payments made every 2 weeks instead of monthly. Both of these changes can be very useful to a claimant but requests for these changes can’t be made until after the first payment of UC has been received.
All Universal credit applications must be made online.
Universal credit is managed entirely online through an online journal that claimants can use to get in contact with DWP and stay up to date with their benefit. If you are someone who struggles with the use of computers or the internet, please feel free to contact us and we will assist you as best we can. If you simply require access to a computer we currently have desks set up in our main Aberdeen office for free access to anyone who needs to claim/check up on their UC.
- Make sure you have a bank account you can use
- Draw up a budget that includes paying your rent
- Get online to make and manage your claim
If you would like more detailed information on Universal Credit you can visit the following websites:
If you require more information on Universal Credit and what it means for you or if you would like help making an application for UC, budgeting advice or assistance to set up a bank account please contact our Tenant Welfare Advisor who is available to help and advise you with all your benefit claims and queries.
Our advice for avoiding debt
- Pay your rent on time
- Set up a direct debit to take the worry out of paying
- If you know you are not going to be able to pay, tell us straight away.
- Check you are getting all the money you’re entitled to. If you need an assessment of your benefits our in-house Tenant Welfare Advisor, David Campbell, can carry out a benefit check. Visit our Welfare Advice page or please contact David on 01224 423086 or email: email@example.com.
- Paying your rent is your priority. Please remember it is your responsibility to pay your rent regardless of how it is paid. You cannot blame Housing Benefit for not paying your rent.
If you do get into debt you can contact your Rent Officer who can offer advice and help you resolve your situation.
Our Arrears Process
We follow a 5-step arrears process when pursuing rent arrears.
- We will contact you by phone, text or email;
- We will contact you by sending an arrears letter;
- We will arrange a home visit;
- We will serve a Notice of Proceedings for Recovery of Posession. This means we may go to court to take back your property. The Notice will give you the earliest date we can start legal action, usually one month after we serve the Notice; and
- If these actions do not result in the arrears being paid, we will then take legal action. Legal action could lead to you being evicted and having a negative impact on your credit rating. You would also have to pay additional costs charged by the court. The costs can be over £450.
We are here to help so do not hesitate to contact us. Contact us on 01224 423000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.