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Luton Community Housing
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PAYING YOUR RENT

Your weekly rent pays for the services we provide and the improvements we make. It is very important to pay your rent and any service charges on time and in line with your tenancy agreement.

If you do not pay your rent or work with us to resolve any arrears we will take legal action against your tenancy which could result in you losing your home.

At the beginning of your tenancy you will be asked how you would prefer to pay your rent and you can change this payment method at any time by contacting your Customer Relationship Manager

There are a number of easy ways for you to pay your rent:

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Direct Debit - this is the easiest way to pay your rent. Ring your Customer Relationship Manager and this can be set up for you.

All Direct Debit payments are covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee.
 

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  Standing Order – You can set this up with your bank using internet banking or in person. Contact your Customer Relationship Manager for our bank details and your tenancy reference number.
 

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Allpay Card - Allpay is a swipe card you can use in Post Offices, local shops and supermarkets displaying the Payzone or Paypoint symbols. We can order one for you.

 

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  Internet – visit www.allpayments.net*. Use your debit or credit card to pay rent 24/7. You will need to initially create an account with your allpay card number to make a payment.
Can’t find your allpay card? Ring us on 01582 391 053 and we’ll order one for you.
 

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Allpay app – download this app to make quick payments from your Android or Apple phone. To download the app, visit the Android app store or iTunes.

 

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Telephone – 0844 557 8321. Use your debit or credit card to pay rent 24/7. You will need your allpay card number to make a payment. Can’t find your allpay card? Ring us on 01582 391 053 and we’ll order one for you.

You can also call the office on 01582 391053 to pay your rent to us directly during office hours using your debit card.
 

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Cheque – make your cheque payable to Luton Community Housing Ltd. and put your name and address on the back of the cheque. Post it to:
Luton Community Housing, Unit 2b Bramingham Business Centre, Enterprise Way, Luton, Beds, LU3 4BU

Housing Benefit Direct Payments:
You may be entitled to claim Housing Benefit to pay some or all of your rent.

We can help explain Housing Benefit to you and help complete claim forms. If all or part of your rent is covered by Housing Benefit, at present you can arrange for it to be paid directly to LCH. You should sign the declaration on the back of the Housing Benefit form, asking them to pay your Housing Benefit directly to us. It is one less thing to worry about.

If Housing Benefit only pays some of your rent, you will need to pay the rest using one of the methods outlined in this section.

If your circumstances change, you must tell the Housing Benefit Office and us immediately—changes may affect your housing benefit. By law, we must tell the Housing Benefit Office if we are aware of any change to your circumstances that affects your housing benefit. Overpayments of Housing Benefit may be deducted from your future benefit payments which means you may build up rent arrears and put your tenancy at risk.

Please note you will be responsible for making sure your rent is being paid by housing benefit should you choose this option.

Universal Credit:
From October 2018, if you are of working age, have two or less children and claim one of the following benefits it is likely you will be moved onto Universal Credit.

The eligible benefits are:

  • Housing Benefit
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income Support

This will mean that you will receive a monthly payment which will include an amount for your rent. It will be your responsibility to pay your rent to us each month using one of the methods above.

To find out if you may be eligible for benefits contact your Customer Relationship Manager. Alternatively you can contact the Benefits Agency on 0800 882 200 (mobile phone charges may apply) or visit www.entitledto.co.uk*.

Please note we do not accept cash payments at the office for security reasons unless the circumstances are very exceptional e.g. it is to prevent legal proceedings.

Arrears recovery

Do you have problems paying your rent? Your rent and service charges must be paid regularly and in advance. This is part of your tenancy agreement with us. If you run into financial difficulty we will try to balance supporting you with the need to collect the rent which pays for the services we provide.

These are the stages that we follow in our rent collection process:

Prevention

If you are struggling to pay your rent please do not ignore this and hope that the problem will resolve itself. Please contact your Customer Relationship Manager immediately. It is vital that you seek help at the earliest opportunity to avoid debts piling up.

Prompt Action

If you miss a payment and we have not heard from you we will contact you. We will contact you through a variety of different methods and may also try and visit you. It is vital that missed payments are resolved at the earliest opportunity to avoid rent arrears building up on your account leading to a debt that is much harder to get on top of.

We will offer support and advice and signpost you to any relevant external support that can help in this situation.

If you cannot clear the arrears immediately we can make an agreement with you to pay in affordable instalments.

Notice of Seeking Possession

If we do not hear from you, or if you fail to keep to an agreed plan to clear the arrears we will have to consider legal action. We may serve a Notice of Seeking Possession which is the first step to asking the courts to make an order to require you to pay or to give us authority to evict you.

Application to Court

If you still fail to keep to an agreed payment plan or the arrears continue to increase, we will apply to the county court to evict you. You will receive papers from the county court that you must complete and return.

We will write to you with details of the time and date of the hearing. You should also contact Citizens Advice, a solicitor or housing advice centre to get independent advice.

The Court Hearing

You must attend court as your home may be at risk. It will be your chance to talk to the judge, who will be deciding whether you will lose you home.

The judge may make an order requiring you to repay the arrears by an agreed amount each week. Alternatively the judge may order that you give your home back to us, by a specified date, if the debt has not repaid in full.

The judge may agree to adjourn the case if they are satisfied that matters will be resolved. You will need to pay the costs of the court hearing.

Failing to keep to a court order

If you fail to keep to the terms of a court order we can apply to the county court to end your tenancy. This means that you and your family would need to leave your home.

To stop the eviction you would need to pay the arrears and court costs in full. You do have the right to apply to the court to ask for the eviction to be postponed (referred to as a Stay hearing).

If you lost your home through not paying your rent the council may see you as being intentionally homeless.  This means you won’t qualify for help until your debt is cleared. You may have to stay with friends or family or find private rented accommodation.

If we are asked for a reference for private rented accommodation we will let them know of any money you owe us.

Leaving your Home

If you leave your home owing us money, including rent arrears, unpaid repair charges or void costs, we will make an agreement with you on how these will be repaid.

If you leave without making an agreement, we will write to your new address, using tracing agents if necessary. We will ask for all the money to be repaid within 28 days or for a repayment plan to be made.

If the debt is not paid or a repayment plan is not put in place and maintained, we will bring in a debt recovery agent.



* Our Privacy Notice does not cover the links within this site linking to other websites. We encourage you to read the privacy statements on the other websites you visit.



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