At Waverley, we calculate our rents over 52 weeks. This means that a rent payment is due every week and that there are no “rent free” weeks. The rent payment is spread evenly throughout the year and is therefore, more manageable.
Preventing Rental Arrears
We know that Christmas can be a busy and expensive time of year, with the costs of celebrations adding up but to protect the roof over your head and make sure you aren’t left out in the cold, you must keep paying your rent. Unsurprisingly, some tenants feel that the holiday season shifts their priorities to presents, parties and family get-togethers.
Before you start buying presents and planning parties, think carefully about how much you can spend and set yourself an affordable budget. Putting a plan in place to prevent rent arrears occurring will help to ease some of the financial stress associated with the Christmas and New Year period. Make sure all your priority bills are being paid – rent, gas, electricity etc.
Missing rent payments in December and January means that you will start the New Year with arrears and we will be forced to take action to recover monies due.
Make sure you inform the Housing Benefit department if there is any change in your circumstances that may affect your entitlement to benefits and do so promptly.
Where possible, try to pay an additional week’s rent early in December so you’re not caught out as Christmas draws closer. The festive season carries us away at the best of times, but if you’ve paid an extra week of rent in advance, it removes the burden of extra financial pressure.
If paying an additional week’s rent in advance looks like it could be a struggle, continue paying your rent as normal, but consider adding a little extra each week in the lead up to Christmas. That way, you’ll be up to date, or even a little ahead when the festive season rolls around.
It’s also worth thinking about whether the way you usually make payments will be affected by our Christmas closures, as our offices will be shut from 2pm on Friday 22 December until 8.45am on Wednesday 3 January 2018.
If you do stretch your finances too far over the festive period and have debts that you are struggling to pay, there is lots of free help available. It’s important to stay in touch with us if you feel you might be under some financial pressure this holiday season. Don’t ignore it and do nothing! The first thing you should do is contact your Housing Officer on 01450 364200.
You can also contact Money Advice Scotland who are the national umbrella organisation which promotes the development of free, independent, impartial and confidential debt advice and financial inclusion. Visit their website at: www.moneyadvicescotland.org.uk/ for further details.
At the end of the day, enjoy your Christmas and New Year celebrations – you’ve earned it. Don’t stop buying presents or hosting your family at Christmas, but budget ahead for your rent payments in advance.