Paying your rent is a legal requirement of your tenancy agreement. The rent charge is applied every calendar month and is payable in advance on or before the first rental period. For many tenancies Ark provides services in connection with your tenancy, such as garden maintenance or communal stair cleaning. If we do, these charges will be broken down on your tenancy agreement and rent statement. Service charges are also payable every calendar month and should be paid at the same time you make your rent payment. The rent you pay is used by us to manage, repair and maintain your home and communal areas. A copy of Ark’s rent collection policy can be found here.
Changes to your rent
Each year, Ark must consider what level of rent increase should be applied for the following financial year and consult tenants on these proposals. The process of setting rent charges is a complex one with many variables influencing the final decision. Below are some keys factors that we must consider when proposing options for changes to rent charges:
- Ongoing costs (repair costs/insurance/utilities)
- Future investment requirements
- How Ark rent charges compare to other Register Social Landlords
- Affordability to tenants
If we are required to carry out a rent increase consultation we will send the rent increase consultation in December to all of our tenants. Tenants’ opinions on any proposed rent increases are also a key factor in deciding on options therefore it is very important that you take the time to tell us what you think.
Having difficulty paying your rent
If you are having money problems and think you may miss a rent payment, tell your Housing Officer as soon as possible. Any information that you give us will be treated confidentially.
If you speak with us we can work out a payment plan that you can afford, recommend benefits you could apply for and stop you getting into more debt.
The Housing Officer’s work in accordance with Ark’s rent collection policy to support tenants if they are experiencing financial difficulties and their rent account falls into arrear to. They will:
- Offer a range of payment options for the use of tenants
- Provide accurate information about rent and service charges, methods of payment, types of advice and assistance available, and the consequences of falling into arrears
- Work to prevent arrears increasing through responding promptly to missed payments
- Ensure that all tenants have been advised of ways to access welfare benefits advice and debt counselling services. They can point you towards independent support/advice services such as the Citizens' Advice Bureau/Money Advice Service and Shelter, who can make sure you are receiving all the support and benefits that you should be
- In the event of non-payment and when tenants fail to engage they will take legal action to recover the debt where necessary but to sanction the use of eviction only as a last resort
- Recover former tenants arrears, taking legal action if necessary
If you have rent arrears, please do not ignore them! If you do not pay your rent, work to clear any outstanding balance, fail to engage with your housing officer or stick to your repayment plan, we will have to take legal action against you. This could cause you to lose your home.
Help with household bills
We understand that sometimes our tenants can have problems with money. We are here to help!
You can speak to a member of the housing team who can offer advice and support and also give details on where to get debt advice.
If you have missed a Council Tax payment which results in your council tax being in arrears and in debt to your local council, we recommend that you contact your Council straight away and tell them about your situation. Council staff will advise you about claiming Council Tax Reduction. Many tenants may think that they do not pay Council Tax but we would like to remind you that public water and sewage charges are included in your Council tax bill.
If you ignore Council Tax arrears, your council will issue a summary warrant and add a 10% charge on to your bill. In addition to this you will also have to pay sheriff officer fees, this will increase your overall household bills debt and may make it unmanageable.
You can get advice and support if you have difficulty paying your fuel bills or keeping your home warm. Almost everyone can get some form of help from Home Energy Scotland.
This is a free service funded by the Scottish Government that gives advice on: making your home cheaper to heat reducing fuel bills saving energy and carbon Call Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282, or text WARM to 81025 for a call back.
They can give you free, impartial advice on energy saving, keeping warm at home, renewable energy, greener travel, cutting water waste and more.