Scrap the ‘bonkers’ rent payment plan.
ATKINSON Head of News email@example.com
A CAMPAIGN has been launched to halt a plan to make all council
house tenants pay their rents by
an order given to a bank or other financial institution by an account holder to pay an amount of money from the account to a specified person or company at regular intervals
Three Tory councillors have challenged Kirklees Neighbourhood
) to drop the plan – which they have labelled
The councillors – Nigel Patrick, Donald
or Scottish term applied to an arm of the sea, usually an estuary or strait. For Firth of Clyde, see Clyde; for Firth of Forth, see Forth.
and Ken Sims – argue
it is a scheme which penalises thousands of tenants who have always paid
their rent on time.
And they insist the threat to evict tenants if they fail to make
payments cannot be upheld.
Kirklees Council’s cabinet has backed a KNH plan to make all
council house tenants pay their rent by direct debit or face
A letter was sent out to tenants and has caused distress to many,
particular elderly people.
Clr Patrick said: “It’s a bonkers plan and it is wrong.
“Many people don’t have bank accounts while others do,
but prefer to pay by cheque and have always paid on time.
“We are told the decision was made on the basis that 70% of
the tenants are on housing benefit and as such are affected by the new
Universal Credit, which will mean the council could see a fall in
“KNH want all tenants to be treated the same, including the
30% not on housing benefit, but we should not be trying to force a
system on our good tenants who want to manage their own financial
“The new Universal Credit sees benefits paid to the person
rather than the council and they are anxious they get the money
He said KNH could not evict anyone who was able and willing to pay
their rent in other ways.
Clr Firth said: “Elderly residents who don’t have a bank
v. fright·ened, fright·en·ing, fright·ens
1. To fill with fear; alarm.
at the thought of eviction. Now we know they
cannot evict them. Why treat people who have always paid their rent on
time in this
adj. shod·di·er, shod·di·est
1. Made of or containing inferior material.
a. Of poor quality or craft.
b. Rundown; shabby.
way?” A joint statement from Kirklees Council
and KNH said changes to the welfare system, particularly Universal
Credit and direct payments, meant that landlords will no longer receive
housing benefit for the majority of tenants.
Instead, housing benefit will be paid into tenants’ bank
accounts. As part of this change a range of banking and credit union
products are being developed.
“This change might result in tenants having difficulties with
their rent payments which could result in a significant shortfall in
income to provide housing services.
“To try to prevent that from happening, we need to use the
most efficient and cost effective method to collect rent, as it pays for
all council housing services in Kirklees.
“We also don’t want tenants to risk losing their homes by
falling behind with their rent, and direct debits are the easiest way to
ensure that rent is paid on time.
“We recognise, however, that a small number of tenants will
struggle with this requirement and we are working with the tenants’
federation on a charter to make sure vulnerable tenants are not unduly
impacted by this change.
“If there are still some tenants who genuinely cannot access
the banking system, we will work with them individually to make sure
they can continue to pay their rent.”
.” ? Rent arrears among tenants on a Government pilot project
that pays housing benefit directly to recipients have seen a big
increase, figures show.
One area is predicting a PS14m loss if the new system is
implemented for all its tenants.
JOINT CALL: Councillors, from left, Nigel Patrick, Donald Firth and