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Lend a hand 20pub

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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
                                                                               james.kelly@suffolkcoastal.gov.uk 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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