Moves to combat rent arrears rise

THE LEVEL of rent arrears of Angus Council tenants has risen from 6.91 per cent at the beginning of the financial year to 7.18 per cent, the first rise for some time.

Members of the neighbourhood services committee heard that in continuing moves to drive down arrears, there have been 15,000 actions including more than 5,000 visits to tenants or former tenants since April. Also, 57 court actions have been taken resulting in 22 cases where the court decreed in favour of the council.

The convener, councillor Donald Morrison, said: “We will be monitoring this trend very carefully in the light of the economic climate and the forthcoming welfare reforms, including the ‘bedroom’ tax which will affect some of our tenants. We are considering proposals which would in future see tenants paying in advance or ensuring that all housing benefit forms are verified for new tenants prior to the tenant signing and handing over keys.

“While we are fully committed to helping tenants, those who habitually fail to pay their rents will be targeted for serious action.”