All tenants are responsible for their rent. It is a common mistake for tenants who are in receipt of full housing benefit to believe they don’t have to pay rent. They do – it is just that housing benefits make the payments on their behalf.

If a housing benefit claim is not renewed or a claim is cancelled, these payments will stop and your rent account will go into arrears. If this is not dealt with straight away you could be left with a large debt to pay as often Housing Benefits may not be able to backdate an expired claim.

In any circumstance if you are experiencing difficulties you must contact us immediately on 0151 709 6878 as we will have options available to help you and may be able to avoid taking legal action. 

Having problems paying?

If you are having difficulty paying your rent you should contact your Housing Officer immediately to discuss your problem.

If you allow rent arrears to build up, you could face legal action and even eviction from your home.

Pine Court Housing welcomes the opportunity to discuss payment problems with tenants in the hope that it will prevent the build up of rent arrears. Our philosophy is that prevention is better than eviction.

Money problems?

Money worries, especially debt, can have long standing effects on your health as well as having wider implications to you and your family. If problems are not dealt with they can snowball into desperation. It is important in these situations to seek help and advice.

Pine Court works with a number of agencies that can help you work towards resolving your problems in complete confidence.

Do you have a debt problem?

Most people struggle from time to time to make ends meet without necessarily having a debt problem. Life can often throw up additional unforeseen costs that result in you being short of money. There are however some key indications that you may have a debt problem. Are you:

  • Struggling to meet minimum credit card payments?
  • Having to borrow money to pay for day-to-day living expenses?
  • Borrowing to meet outstanding debt repayments?
  • Missing rent or mortgage payments?

If you are experiencing any of these problems please contact Pine Court as soon as possible, or call moneymadeclear, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) money advice service 0300 500 5000.

Priority debts

Priority debts are debts that are more important than other debts, due to what can happen if you do not pay them.

  • Mortgage and rent – not paying these can result in you and your family losing your home and being made homeless.
  • Council Tax – can result in additional fines or even a prison sentence if not paid.
  • Fuel Bills – can result in you being cut off.
  • Court Fines, Child Maintenance and TV Licence – can result in further fines or prison sentence.

These are examples of the most important bills that need to be paid before any other as they will have a direct effect on your quality of life if they are not.

Other debts

These debts are still important as you may have signed legal contracts with service providers and credit companies:

  • Credit Cards
  • Personal Loans
  • Hire Purchase Agreements
  • Mobile Phone Contracts
  • Catalogues and Mail Order accounts

You may have a legal obligation to pay them, however it is more likely that you will be able to negotiate more affordable repayment plans with these providers.

Financial support services

Turn2us is a charity that helps people in financial need to maximise their income by helping them access the money available to them – through welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help.

Further advice and assistance can also be obtained from the Financial Services Authority

The National Debt Line provides free, independent and confidential advice on how to deal with debt problems. It is a free phone number, 0808 808 4000, and is available Monday to Friday 9am until 9pm, Saturday 9am until 1pm.

Pine Court Housing Officers can provide assistance and advice for those with debt or financial difficulties.

Illegal Money Lending (loan sharks)

Illegal money lenders, or Loan sharks as they are commonly know,n are the most dangerous and unregulated form of credit available. Often non payment can result in threats, intimidation and assault. Some reported cases have seen borrowers forced into prostitution and other criminal activity to clear their debt.

Often a loan shark will be someone a friend knows who can lend you a bit of cash and can be seen as providing a necessary service. That is until you can’t afford to pay. If you are in debt to a loan shark, or know of one operating in your community please contact us immediately.

Did you know: Loan sharks have no legal basis to recover monies they have lent out. 100’s of people have had their debts cancelled following the arrests of loan sharks.

Bank accounts

Often the easiest and preferred way to pay rent is by standing Order, you must however have a bank account to access this payment method.

Pine Court Housing is currently helping tenants to open their own bank accounts. If you do not have a bank account or are struggling to find a bank that will open one for you, please contact the Pine Court office on 0151 709 6878.

Saving money

It is important to save in order to protect yourself from any unexpected costs that may come along. Saving is also far cheaper than credit as you receive interest for your money rather than pay it against borrowings.

There are a number of ways that you can save. A reputable bank or building society will have a number of products, some can offer higher interest rates, others can give easy access to your money. The choice of savings account depends on what is most suitable for you. Some accounts may restrict you from getting you money for between 30 – 90 days however the interest you receive will be higher than savings accounts that offer instant access. These accounts can be useful as they remove the temptation to withdraw the money, however stiff penalties can be incurred if the money is needed quickly. Instant savings accounts will generally offer very low interest rates but will be very flexible in the way you can access your money.

Credit Unions

Credit Unions offer a good rate of return on savings and being a member gives access to other benefits depending on what arrangements the Credit Union has. They can assist with loans, and often help with things like budgeting advice. They are non profit making organisations that can assist with a range of financial arrangements.