Housing Executive encourages tenants to get debt advice

The Housing Executive’s North East Area Accounts Unit is urging its tenants living in the Area’s 9 Districts to make sure they pay their rent regularly or they may risk losing their home.

Accounts Unit Manager Elizabeth Martin explained: “In the current financial climate more people are finding it difficult to make ends meet. It is important however, to keep paying your rent regularly, if you don’t, you may be at risk of losing your home.

“Housing Executive tenants, who are having difficulty paying their rent, shouldn’t ignore the problem. We are committed to providing every opportunity to help tenants who are experiencing difficulties with paying their rent.

“Members of staff in our Accounts Unit in Ballymena provide confidential help and advice to any tenant who is having difficulty paying their rent. But it is important that they contact us at the earliest possible stage so that an affordable agreement can be made to repay the arrears. The earlier we are contacted the easier it is to tackle the problems.

“We are fully committed to helping tenants organise their finances so they can pay their rent and meet other expenses too.

“Our staff are specifically trained and can help by:

• Agreeing an installment plan to repay arrears;

• Giving advice on Housing Benefit, Rates Relief and other benefits that they may be entitled to;

• Arranging for payments to be taken from certain benefits or from your salary, with your employer’s approval; and

• Referring to Citizens Advice Bureau or other Advice Agencies for specialist money advice.

“Situations arise where the Housing Executive is required to take legal action to recover rent arrears. Ultimately this could result in you being evicted from your home if you have failed to keep an agreement to repay your debt.

“We would urge anyone with any concerns about their finances to contact our Accounts staff immediately on 03448 920 900 for confidential advice.”

n The North East Area Accounts Unit covers the following Housing Executive Districts Newtownabbey 1 and 2, amongst others. At the end of November 2011 current tenants in the North East owed £1.84m.