Angus Housing Association rent arrears at record low
Angus Housing Association has set a record low for its rent arrears, with only 1.82 per cent of current tenants’ rent uncollected as at 31 March 2015.
Hailed as a “magnificent achievement”, it is a slight improvement on its 2013/14 figure of 1.92 per cent and well inside the Association’s own 2 per cent target.
It is also much lower than the anticipated Scottish average, which will be confirmed later this year when figures are published by the Scottish Housing Regulator.
Speaking after the announcement, Association director Bruce Forbes said: “It has been another magnificent team effort to keep our rent arrears at such a low level, especially in such challenging times when many of our tenants are struggling with reduced wages and cuts in benefits.
“All of the staff have worked extremely hard and I must compliment them, especially our Housing Management Team, for their commitment and dedication in helping our tenants to recognise the folly of letting the rent debts they accrue get out of hand.”
Mr Forbes also suggested the “overriding reason for our success has been staying with a policy of Housing Officers being integral to our arrears collection, rather than reverting, as many Landlords have done, to specialist debt collection staff or agencies”.
The Association has also emphasised the importance of early intervention by staff when tenants begin accumulating rent arrears.
Mr Forbes said: “All too often, I hear of cases where social landlords are only raising court proceedings to recover debt when arrears have reached £2,500 to £3,000.
“Letting rent arrears reach this level is a recipe for disaster, especially with the impending introduction of Universal Credit.
“Responsible landlords need to start intervening earlier and engaging with their tenants on realistic payment terms or their future cash flow will be under serious threat.”