Council campaign aims to ensure that tenants put Rent 1st
Perth & Kinross Council’s housing service has launched a new drive to ensure that all its tenants are clear about their responsibilities to pay rent.
The Rent 1st campaign sends out a strong message to tenants that if they don’t pay, they will face action by the council which could ultimately result in them losing their home.
During last year the council has evicted a number of households for non- payment of rent. The campaign highlights that this approach will continue where tenants fail to take action to clear their arrears.
It also stresses that if people are struggling to pay their rent they should contact the council as soon as possible to avoid falling into arrears. The council can offer range of support for tenants who are facing financial difficulties.
The Rent 1st campaign will see a series of posters appear in housing offices and other public buildings, accompanied by an online campaign on specialist social media sites for Perth & Kinross Council tenants.
The campaign has been introduced alongside new stricter processes for the collection of outstanding rent. The new approach starts when an offer of housing is made with an expectation that new tenants will pay their first week’s rent before the keys to their new home are handed over. By engaging with tenants early on we can work with them to prevent debt arising in the first place. To support tenants, a range of payment options are available to suit individual needs and make paying rent as easy as possible.
Housing and health convener, Councillor Dave Doogan, said: “It is important that we act early to prevent a tenant’s rent debt getting out of control. Our new approach has a greater focus on speaking to and meeting tenants to discuss the issues early, rather than just issuing letters.
“All tenants in arrears are required to clear the debt as soon as possible or enter into and maintain a repayment arrangement. Where an arrangement is broken the council will escalate the case to the next stage. We now have 1,342 tenants with active repayment agreements who are reducing their debt.
“We have also established good relationships with other organisations and services which can provide help and support if debt is a problem, including Welfare Rights, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Perth and Kinross Credit Union.
“We will do all that we can to support tenants to sustain their homes and have a responsibility to the two thirds of our tenants who pay their rent on time to bring in the income needed to continue to deliver high quality housing services.
“We will also continue to take firm action against tenants who chose to ignore their rent, including taking them to court to obtain an eviction order.”
Councillor Doogan added: “You do risk losing your home if you don’t ask for help when behind with your rent. Talk to us before it is too late, we can help.
“The Rent 1st campaign will stress to our tenants that rent is the most important household bill. Paying rent in full and on time means that tenants and their families can enjoy a safe and secure home.”