With Christmas just around the corner, Halton Housing is urging its customers to put their rent first.
Many of us feel under pressure to spend too much money at Christmas, from buying expensive presents and toys, to decorations and food. It’s only natural that you want to make your Christmas special but remember that having a roof over your head is more important than any gift.
Are you eligible for Halton Housing’s non-charging rent weeks?
Formally known as free rent weeks, Halton Housing’s next non-charging rent weeks will take place on 24th December and 31st December.
Remember, rent is paid in advance, so your rent account must be at least one week in credit to benefit from the non-charging weeks.
You are eligible for non-charging rent weeks if your rent account is clear or in credit.
If you pay your rent monthly this is spread out over 12 equal payments, so the non-charging rent weeks do not apply.
If you are on a monthly Direct Debit or agreed four weekly/monthly Standing Order, these non-charging rent weeks would have been taken into account when making your monthly amount calculation.
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit, then the four non-charging weeks are already calculated into your monthly payments throughout the year, to make up 12 equal monthly payments. Therefore, you must make sure you pay your rent to Halton Housing during these non-charging weeks to ensure your rent account does not fall into arrears.
For further information regarding the non-charging weeks visit our dedicated page.
Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) is a way of helping you if the amount of Housing Benefit or housing costs in your Universal Credit you get is not enough to pay your rent.
For further information, including how to apply please visit our dedicated Discretionary Housing Payments page.
Customers in receipt of Universal Credit
Applying for Universal Credit in the last two weeks of November
If you’re applying for Universal Credit (UC) or are due to make the switch in the last two weeks of November, due to the initial 6-week payment timescale you won’t receive your full UC payments until January 2019.
If you don’t have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment you may be able to get an advance of your first UC payment. Advanced Payments are a loan from the Department for Work and Pensions paid to claimants who are struggling to wait 6 weeks for their first Universal Credit payment. An advanced payment is a loan from the Department of Work and Pensions, and must be paid back from your first 12 monthly Universal Credit payments.
For further information visit our dedicated website page here.
Managing Universal Credit payments when you work
If you are in some form of employment and claiming Universal Credit (UC), and your employer pays you early in December due to the Christmas period (as many employers do this) you may receive a reduced UC payment or no payment until January 2019.
This is because how often your employer pays you can affect your UC as you may be paid twice in one assessment period.
For further information please visit our dedicated website page here.
Paying your rent must be your first priority.
Customers who fail to make rent and arrears payments or are in breach of an agreement you have already made to clear the debt, we may take further action against you including:
- Ask for rent and arrears payments to be taken directly from your Universal Credit so Halton Housing will receive your housing costs and there will be a reduction of 20% of your personal allowance UC payment to pay the rent arrears .
- Start legal action for possession which will add a minimum of £325 to your debt and can impact on your credit score.
- As a last resort ask the courts to evict you from your home.
Remember, the best present at Christmas is peace of mind – put your rent first.
It’s important that if you know you are going to be left short during the festive period, you should speak to a member of our team by emailing Debt.Recovery@haltonhousing.org or calling 0151 510 5204.