South Lakes Housing is committed to delivering safe and secure homes for all our customers. To that end, we aim to provide as much advice and support as is required to help our customers to sustain their tenancies
As a Housing Association, we will work with any resident who is struggling to pay rent to make arrangements that are manageable for them in the long term. Legal action will only be taken in very serious circumstances – for example as a last resort where a resident will not agree to a plan to pay their rent, or where it is needed urgently in cases of domestic abuse or of antisocial behaviour that is putting other residents or communities at risk.
We fully support the National Housing Federation’s (NHF) statement on support for residents, https://www.housing.org.uk/resources/responsetocoronavirus/ which establishes a clear commitment to Keeping people secure at home, Helping people to get the support they need and Acting compassionately and quickly where people are struggling
Our own guiding principles inform our approach to customers from the pre-tenancy stage, through the starter tenancy period and beyond.
- Prevention – from the start of every new tenancy, we work closely with our customers to ensure they understand their charges, are clear about ways to pay and have arrangements in place to do so. We check affordability, as well as individual and household circumstances, advising as appropriate and help with making claims for benefits such as Universal Credit.
- Early intervention – our Income Team keep a regular check on customer accounts. As soon as they spot signs that a customer is struggling, they will get in touch and work with them to help them to get back on track. We are able to support customers directly and also refer to a more specialist advice as required.
- Communication – we encourage our customers to engage with us at as early a stage as possible should they find themselves experiencing problems with their finances, such that they are unable to pay their bills, including the rent and/or need support to manage debts.
- Support – our Income Team can offer practical and relevant support for people to budget, improve their financial health and financial inclusion and their ability to pay rent.
These are our ongoing commitments to our customers, each of whom can be assured that they can continue to enjoy living in a South Lakes Housing home, safe in the knowledge that advice, information and support is always available to them when required and that South Lakes Housing will always work with them to help resolve any issues that may arise.