Call for tenants to avoid arrears

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Angus Council tenants who have had their housing benefit cut because of the bedroom tax are being urged to apply for a discretionary housing payment rather than get into rent arrears.

Councillor Alex King, financial spokesman, said: “Additional funds have been given to the council to help lessen the impact of the recently introduced welfare reforms on residents.

“Additional funds are now available to assist tenants who have had their housing benefit cut as a result of the under occupancy rules applied by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) - there is no reason for anyone on housing benefit to go into arrears with their rent.”

Mr King continued: “I urge any tenants who have had their housing benefit cut by the DWP to apply to Angus Council for a discretionary housing payment, even if they have previously been refused one.

“Entitlement to a discretionary housing payment isn’t automatic but we will help everyone who is eligible.

“The council expects all tenants to take all steps necessary to avoid going in to rent arrears; anyone experiencing difficulties in making rent payments should contact our housing team as soon as possible.”

The additional funds provided to the council by the DWP and the Scottish Government will be used to top-up the discretionary housing payment scheme.

Remaining funds will be held in a new Welfare Reform Fund within the council, to address the impact of the UK benefit reform on residents.

Mr King added: “While these additional funds offer welcome relief for tenants and landlords, it is a clumsy solution to a more fundamental problem and is still only a short term fix for affected tenants.”