Housing association owed over £400K

Crackdown: The Chorley Community Housing Team

Crackdown: The Chorley Community Housing Team

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Housing bosses say they are taking a stronger approach to rent collection, after announcing more than £400,000 in rent arrears.

Chorley Community Housing (CCH), the organisation that manages the town’s former council houses, says it is owed a total of £435,422 in unsettled payments.

Housing chiefs said around half of the 1,500 tenants in Chorley are now in arrears.

Now the Rent Collection and Arrears Recovery Team is clamping down on tenants who did not pay.

The team will notify customers as soon as they fall into arrears, provide financial advice and take legal action if necessary.

If customers fail to meet CCH’s obligations and do not engage in the services provided, it could result in eviction from their home.

Elaine Jackson, Group Arrears Recovery Manager, said: “We are having a robust crackdown on rent arrears.

“We will take action if tenants fail to engage with us, but we are here to give advice and assistance.

“We understand that some people fall into arrears, and we are here to help them - but they must take a responsibility as well.

“Tenants should be paying in advance, and it gives us time to get in and help them if they need it.”

CCH tenants will also be given the opportunity to take advantage of two rent free weeks, commencing on March 19 and March 26.

During the weeks, those in rent arrears must pay money, to put towards reducing or clearing debt.

CCH, who are part of Adactus Housing Group, provide access to Money Advice for welfare and housing benefits, as well as budgeting finances. They also have links to other agencies that can deal with more complicated cases.

Since April 2011, Adactus Housing Group have helped almost 400 tenants who have been struggling to manage their finances, through a free ‘Money Advice’ service. This has resulted in an additional income of £240,000.

For those in rent arrears contact 0845 505 3355 or from a mobile 0300 111 1133.