Rent arrears hit record low

By on 04/02/2010 in News

Birmingham City Council has reduced rent arrears to under £10 million- the lowest figure in over ten years.

Following the introduction of rent payment holidays as part of the Council's Business Transformation programme a two week rent payment holiday was first introduced over Christmas 2008, which helped the council to reduce rent arrears by £1.1 million, contributing to an overall reduction of £2 million by March 2009.

Over the recent Christmas period rent arrears reduced by another £1 million helping the council to achieve a ten year low.

This year, in addition to the 2 week rent payment break during Christmas, the council is also introducing an additional 2 week rent payment holiday in Spring, which will run from 15-27 March 2010.

The changes mean tenants' rent is now spread over 48 weeks instead of 52 weeks and tenants in rent arrears will be given guidance and support to make additional payments during the payment holidays to help them get out of debt.

Tenants who kept up to date with their rent payments had no rent to pay over the recent Christmas break and providing they maintain a clear rent account will enjoy the same ahead of the Easter holiday season.

The council now also issues tenants with quarterly rent statements to help them keep their rent balance up to date and gain more control over their finances.

Council tenant Kathy McVeagh-Luzha said, “The free weeks over the Christmas period has helped me immensely throughout January. This is usually the most stressful month waiting for payday but I have not had to worry so much this year.”

Councillor John Lines, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “I'm delighted with this fantastic achievement, particularly during these financially testing times.

“It's only a few years ago, in 2005, when rent arrears were £13 million so to get to under £10 million is great for us and our tenants.

“I'm determined to help our tenants, often on very low incomes, to manage their rent at those times of the year when making ends meet is most difficult and it's clearly paying off.

“I am confident we will continue to reduce the arrears over the coming year and I value good tenants who pay their rent regularly.

“We also continue to consult with our tenants on how we can make even more improvements.”

Ends

Further information from Belinder Kaur Lidher on 0121 303 6969

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