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Rent first Christmas

Think rent first this Christmas

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 23rd December 2019 and 3oth December 2019.

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

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 after the Christmas period.

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 after the Christmas period.

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 calling 0151 510 5204 or emailing: Debt.Recovery@haltonhousing.org.

Related Help & Support Articles

Find helpful articles on finding your next home with Halton Housing, and how to apply for a home here.

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Halton Housing has received reports from customers that bogus callers are targeting our neighbourhoods in Widnes and Runcorn. Any visits to your home by Halton Housing will be pre-arranged with you. All of our staff carry photographic identification badges. Each badge has the Halton Housing logo and the staff member’s name. If you are ever in doubt – please call us on 0303 333 0101.