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Lend a Hand Suffolk Coastal D.C. October 2009 Issue 20 Do you have properties available at affordable rates? Inside this issue: Landlords Board – board for a minimum of 2 Melton Hill offices weeks; if there is space, Tenant finding life 2 Landlords often ring us difficult about individual properties they may be left longer. Many of the people that they have available at Help with housing 2 visit us for housing advice affordable rents and we If you have properties costs need help in finding a have tried to create a link available at an affordable home at an affordable with those who are rent and would like to Tenant in arrears 2 rent. seeking accommodation. advertise, please contact To make the best use of Linda on 01394 444237 or this information, we have you can email Rogue Traders 3 Social housing is very now set up a ‘Landlord popular but supply is Board’ in the Melton Hill limited. With the Reception area. Key Statistics 3 introduction of Choice Based Lettings in May 2009, many have already Properties can be Your questions 3 discovered that their advertised showing the chances of securing social property characteristics, rent, location and details Landlords Meeting 4 housing are very low. Within the Housing of whether you will Options team we try to consider pets, children, homelessness@ make people aware of all smokers and people in receipt of state benefits. suffolkcoastal.gov.uk the other options available. Details remain on the Special point of Help us beat the fraudsters interest: • The next Landlords The Benefit Fraud Team Is signing on and working . property. Meeting will take place investigates all types of Has left their home and Is working and living with on 10th November at benefit fraud where hous- still claims benefit. someone who claims 11.00am in the Council ing and/or council tax benefit. benefit is being paid and Regularly picks up post Chamber at Melton Hill the team is committed to from an empty property. Please call us on our fraud Woodbridge. protecting “Suffolk Coastal Uses a false name. hotline 01394 444444. taxpayers’’ money. All calls are confidential Is claiming benefit at more than one address. and you do not have to give your name. Please contact us if you Is claiming benefit and know anyone who: owns more than one Is your tenant finding life difficult to manage? There is a new housing related Health and Well-being support service for tenants that Visit the website Accessing Community and Social may be able to help a tenant with: Networks. www.carasnap.org or Keeping and Managing the Accom- Use CARA the Central Access & Telephone: 01473 742690 modation Referral Agency to get in touch with Developing Life Skills one of the support agencies that will help tenants to do things for them- Managing Money and Budgeting selves. This type of support consists Working and Training of up to 3 hours a week. It is short term and reviewed every 13 weeks. Is your tenant in rent arrears? We have recently revised our proce- tenant in order to ascertain whether dures for dealing with cases where local housing allowance payments tenants are accumulating rent should be made directly to the land- lord. arrears. Can you spot a thief? However, we will ask you to provide Benefit Cheats aren’t as If your tenant is in excess of eight evidence of any purporting arrears easy to spot, which is why weeks rent arrears, or is beginning so it is essential that you as land- Suffolk Coastal has a to accumulate rent arrears then lord, and your tenant, keep proper dedicated Investigation please contact us . We will suspend and adequate records of rental Team. any payments immediately and con- transactions. We need YOUR help sult with both yourself and your If you suspect that someone you know is cheating the benefits system, call us now Hotline 01394 444444 Help with Housing Costs Mortgage interest and other relevant Council Tax covered by be away from their home costs covered by Income Support, Council Tax Benefit for at least 52 weeks, or Income Based Jobseeker’s they do not intend to Allowance, Income related return to live there. Employment and Support Allowance Housing costs stop or Pension Credit. being paid when a tenant has been in hospital for 52 weeks. Rent covered by Housing Benefit They will stop sooner if it is clear that a tenant will Page 2 Lend a Hand Rogue Traders Recent television and radio coverage CHAIN– If you decide to open with you. Don’t worry if you choose has brought into focus the problem of the door, put the door chain or rogue traders active in the area and not to go to help—it’s not rude or bar on first, Keep the chain or the work being done by Trading Stan- unfriendly. If it is someone claim- bar on while you are talking to dards in regard to these people. Best ing to be an official, ask for and advice is to say “No thank you” to the person on the doorstep. carefully check their identity card, doorstep traders. (Normally when the door is shut make sure the caller’s name and pic- Remember: - and locked, leave the chain or ture are the same as the identity LOCK—Keep your front and bar off in case you need to get card, even if the visit is pre- back doors locked, even at home. out in an emergency.) arranged. Re-assure your customers that a genuine caller will be happy to make a appointment to call and STOP— Before you answer the CHECK– Check their details will carry an identity card with a door, stop and think if you are and identity before you let them photograph. They won’t mind wait- expecting anyone. Check that you into your home. Do not agree to ing if you want to phone and con- have locked any back door and any work being done or sign a firm their identity. Remember there taken the key out. Look through contract until you have talked to is the facility in place for the utility the spy-hole or the window to see someone else. If it is someone companies to have a password to who it is. looking for help only go out to use when visiting. help if you have someone else Key Statistics Housing Benefit (HB) Claims in GB HB by expenditure = between 86 billion at 30.09.2007 = 3.39 million and 92% Average weekly payment = £73.15 CTB by caseload (social rented ten- In Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Main Council Tax Benefit (CTB) ants) = between 87 and 93% area there are approximately 57,000 claims in GB at 30.09.2007 = 4.29 CTB by caseload (owner occupiers) homes and about 10,000 are getting million = between 38 and 43% help to pay their Council Tax or Rent. If you, or your tenant, think Average weekly payment = £15.27 Annual expenditure in GB in 2008/9 you could be entitled to help, call Take-up of HB/CTB in GB in 2006/7 HB planned expenditure = £16.614 the Housing Benefits Team on HB by caseload = between 81 and billion 01394 444838 87% CTB planned expenditure = £4.253 Your questions and our answers Q= When is Housing Benefit paid to Q– Supposing it is improbable that made of the evidence. This is to a landlord/agent? the tenant will pay the rent? help in safeguarding the tenancy. A= In all cases where there are A = If there is some evidence, then Please send all questions to James arrears of 8 weeks or more. the Benefit may be paid to the land- Kelly, Landlord Liaison officer, by lord. phone 01394 444466 or email: Q= What if a tenant is likely to have firstname.lastname@example.org or difficulty in managing their affairs? Q= How long a time has the Bene- fits Service to consider such evi- by post at The Benefits Service, A= If there is evidence, then the dence? Suffolk Coastal District Council, Benefit may be paid to the landlord. A= for a period not exceeding 8 Melton Hill, Woodbridge, Suffolk, weeks the benefit can be paid to the IP12 1AU Issue 20 landlord while an assessment is Trusted Traders If you want work done then ensure you employ a reputable person, Trading Standards are in the process of drawing up a list of ‘Trusted Traders’, Suffolk Coastal D.C. but word of mouth can also be a good indicator. Get at least three estimates, from traders that you are able to ascertain a landline phone number and Melton Hill an address, before making up your mind. Woodbridge IP12 1AU Phone: 01394 444838 benefits@suffolkcoastal. gov.uk Where quality of life counts Landlords Winter Meeting Speakers: independent benefits trainer will discuss tenants and the Anthony C Wooding, and consultant will be law. Solicitor; John Zebedee, speaking. He has taught more Claire Moore is the Consultant; Claire Moore, than 2,000 Housing Benefit Partnership Development EAGA. courses for local authorities, Officer for EAGA plc. Claire Tuesday 10th November at housing associations, advice will be advising on ‘Warm 11.00am in the Council’s organisations and voluntary Front’ offices at Melton Hill, bodies. John is giving a talk Woodbridge, is the date and on current and future issues venue for the next meeting for regarding the government’s There is seating for 50. landlords and supporting Housing Benefit scheme. He Please book your place by organisations. Both corporate will be available to answer phoning James Kelly on and individual landlords are questions and advise on 01394 444466 or emailing welcome to come and talk specific topics. James on james.kelly@ about current topics Anthony C Wooding, Solicitor suffolkcoastal.gov.uk concerning the rental market. is the Head of Litigation and Managing Partner of Kerseys, The meeting is to end at Solicitors in Ipswich. Anthony John Zebedee an 12.30pm
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