Housing Rent

 

Rent is a weekly charge for your property. Before signing a tenancy agreement for a council property, we will tell you how much the total charge is. Rent pays for housing services such as repairs and maintenance, grounds maintenance, estate cleaning and lighting and housing management.  We also use some of the rent to provide and make improvements to tenants’ homes. You may have to pay extra charges for services.  These might include water and heating.
 

Checking your rent account balance

On-line via the internet By telephone

You can check your Rent Account balance on line using our I-Housing system. Follow this link to register or access the system.

You can request a balance during office hours by calling us. You can also request an up to date rent statement, please telephone the Rent Account Team on 01903 737850.

If you are a former tenant, please contact the Former Tenants Arrears Team on 01903 737850.

 

Paying your rent

Direct Debit is the most cost effective and easiest method of payment. It is the cheapest way to process tenants’ payments and saves having to remember how much and when to pay. If a mistake is made by the Council or a Bank or Building Society, a full refund is guaranteed. Payment swipe cards are sent to all tenants who do not choose to pay by Direct Debit. These can be used at any Post Office or any shop displaying the PayPoint sign. There are 70 outlets in the Arun district, and the card can be also used anywhere in the country. Please look after your payment swipe card, we will not send you a new one each year. 
If you have lost your payment swipe card please call our help line on 01903 737850 during office hours and we will order you a new card which should arrive 2 days later.
 

Methods of payment

Online by debit or credit card
If you have a payment swipe card, please log into the allpay web site. You will need to have your swipe card to hand and enter the 19 digit number to log in. If you do not have a payment swipe card, please log on to Arun’s payment web page.
 
Telephone by debit or credit card
If you have a payment swipe card please call the 24 hour payment line on 0844 557 8321. If you have difficulty using this automated payment line please call 01903 737850 during office hours and we will assist you to make a payment.
 
Direct Debit
Direct Debit is available for you to pay your rent direct from your bank account.  It is the most convenient way to pay once you have set it up. The amount will automatically change whenever there is a change in your rent.  We will write to you to inform you of the change beforehand. 
To set up a direct debit please complete the  Direct Debit Mandate Form.pdf [pdf] 165KB or the Direct Debit Mandate Form.doc [doc] 116KB   or telephone 01903 737850 or visit the Housing Office. If you down load the form you will need to print it and return it by post to the Housing Department.
 
By Post by Cheque or Postal Order
Please make the cheque payable to Arun District Council and write your rent account number on the back of the cheque. Send it to Housing at the address at the foot of the page.
In Person by Cash or Cheque
You can use the swipe card to pay at a PayPoint outlet or Post Office and present your payment with the card. The outlet will give you a receipt for your payment which you should keep as evidence of payment. Please be advised that some PayPoint outlets may not accept cheques. You can search for a PayPoint outlet or Post Office on line by entering your post code at the allpay website, or view a list of PayPoint outlets in the Arun District Council area.
 
Tenants who may be considering changing their method of payment should contact the Housing Finance Team on 01903 737850.
 

We send out quarterly rent statements to tenants every 13 weeks. Typically these are sent out in July, October, January and April. When you get your statement, please check that all the details are correct. If you disagree with the record of payments or you have any questions with your statement please contact the Housing Finance Team on 01903 737850. Each year in February or March we will send you a rent notification letter. This advises you how much your weekly rent will be for the coming financial year (April to March). If you move into your new home part way through the year we will send you payment information for your new home within two weeks of you moving in. 

 

How your rent is calculated

The Government says that all councils should work out rents in the same way.  The aim is that by 2017, rents for similar homes owned by councils and housing associations in the same area will be comparable, no matter who the landlord is. This is known as the target rent. The Government says that councils should be charging the full target rent for each of their properties by 2017.  Your existing rent will move towards the target rent for your home in steps between now and 2017.
 
Your rent will be worked out by a Government formula, using a national average rent and adjusted to reflect three things:
  • The number of bedrooms in your home
  • The average wage in West Sussex
  • The value of your home
  • Inflation
70% of your rent will be based on the number of bedrooms in your home and the average wage in West Sussex and 30% on the value of your home.
 

Rent arrears

 
If your rent is not paid, the money owed is called rent arrears. Rent must be a priority. If you get into arrears, the consequences of not dealing with them are serious - you could be evicted from your home. It costs you more if you get into arrears because you will have to pay your whole rent plus something towards the arrears, meaning more money to find every week. If the Council has to take you to court there will be court costs of over £100, which will be added on to the arrears. If you claim Housing Benefit and you do not tell them straight away of a change in your circumstances, you may be overpaid, and have to pay this back too.
 
It is our aim for you to remain as a tenant of Arun District Council.  The Rent Arrears Team are here to help, and if you get into difficulty they can work with you to make an arrangement to pay off the arrears which is affordable for you.  Where possible they want to avoid taking debt recovery action because this is costly for you, and for the Council. However, you have to take responsibility and work with us. Read our  Rent Arrears [pdf] 102KB leaflet.
 
What to do if you are in arrears
  • If you can, make a one-off payment to clear your arrears in full.
  • If you can’t, contact the Rent Arrears Team on (01903) 737850 to discuss an agreement to pay the arrears off before they become unmanageable.
  • Make your payments regularly, find a day that suits you and keep to it.
  • If you miss a payment, lose your job, or have money problems contact the Rent Arrears Team straight away.
  • Get advice about help with paying your rent or help with money problems or budgeting from organisations such as the CAB.
  • Contact Housing Benefit and discuss making a claim or checking your claim.
  • Review your income and expenditure and prioritise the payment of your rent.  Your home may be at risk if your don’t!  You can down load and print off a handy form to help you review your Income & Expenditure [doc] 73KB
If you do not pay your rent you are in breach of your tenancy agreement and in rent arrears. The Rent Arrears Team will write to you to let you know how much you owe, to remind you to pay and to ask you to contact them to make an arrangement to pay. You can meet face to face with the Rent Arrears team, who will help you complete an income and expenditure form, make an arrangement to clear the arrears by an amount you can afford, make sure that you agree with the amount you owe, make sure the amount of rent that you have to pay is correct, ensure that you have claimed your full entitlement to housing benefit and check if you can get any other benefits. If you find it difficult to get to our office, maybe because you are elderly or house-bound, it may be possible to arrange a visit to your home to discuss your arrears.  
 
When you make a payment arrangement to clear your arrears you must keep to this arrangement.  If you have problems making the payments you must contact the Rent Arrears Team to see if we can change the arrangement because if you don't keep to the agreement we may take you to court. Housing Services will make every effort to come to an arrangement which helps you to clear the arrears.  If you do not pay your rent arrears off, or make a payment arrangement to clear your arrears, or maintain your agreement, the Council will issue a ’Notice of Seeking Possession’ and can then take court action to recover the money along with possession of your home.
 
Where arrears are more than 4 weeks rent the Council can serve a Notice of Seeking Possession.  This is the first step in a legal procedure which could lead to court action, and possibly homelessness.  The rules about when and how a landlord may evict you for rent arrears differ according to the type of tenancy agreement you have.  If you get a possession summons from the local County Court you should seek advice immediately. Every year the Council have to evict tenants for rent arrears. In these cases the tenants will usually not be re-housed by the Council because they are considered to be intentionally homeless - because if they had acted differently they would not be homeless, and the Council has no legal duty to re-house them. If we take you to court, you may not only lose your home, but also find that the court order affects your credit rating. You will also have to pay any court costs.
 
If you are taken to Court, the Court can decide to
  • Make a possession order to evict you
  • Make a possession order but suspend possession provided you pay your normal weekly rent plus a weekly amount to clear the arrears
  • Adjourn your case
The Housing Department may agree to suspend possession if you agree to pay the weekly rent plus the arrears.  If you don’t pay as agreed the Council can then ask the Court for a date to evict you.  If the Council has to evict you this may affect your status if you ever need Council Housing in the future.
 
If you have problems paying it is important to contact the Rent Arrears Team, and to get advice.  "Do not bury your head in the sand": the problem will not go away on its own.
  
Arun has a policy of recovering debts from former tenants. Following the vacation of a property, if there is a balance outstanding on the rent account, we will, in the first instance, contact the former tenant, informing them of the arrears and requesting payment, either in full or via a payment arrangement. If payment is not made, we will take appropriate recovery action, ultimately we will take tenants who have left their property and have arrears to Court.